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  • Writer's picturemegan20250

Have you and your child played today?

Updated: Apr 12, 2019


Playtime is fundamental to the emotional, social, physical and cognitive development and well-being of children. From a young age children use play to navigate and interact with the world around them. Furthermore, they use the language and safety of play to express and work through their emotions; this is especially true for more non-verbal children or children who don’t have the vocabulary for verbal expression. A young child won’t always tell you they have had a tough day, they will rather ask you to play.


"A young child won’t always tell you they have had a tough day, they will rather ask you to play".

According to the United Nations Play is seen as vital to a child’s development; it is captured in the Children’s bill of rights (UNHCHR, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989). However, the importance of play is often undervalued and time spent on child-parent play has declined. This is due to higher work demands, time limitations imposed from hurried lifestyles and modern family structures. Greater importance is placed on academics and achievement is defined by societal standards at the expense of children’s social emotional development. It is vital to nurture the role of play in the school and home environment. The pressures placed on parents and the plethora of information telling them how to best meet the “perceived” needs of their children to excel in all aspects of life has led to decreased parental satisfaction and overwhelmed individuals. In turn this negatively effects quality time with their children. From personal experience it is noted that children crave quality time over un-engaged quantity of time. Short periods of invested time allow children to feel unconditionally loved, acknowledged and supported which builds resilience, confidence and skill sets. Play can come in various forms and can be incorporated into daily family routines and downtime such as talking or reading stories, preparing of family meals, working on hobbies and creative projects or fully engaged child-centered play.


Play can come in various forms and can be incorporated into daily family routines and downtime

There is value in both directed and non directed play. Non-directive play gives parents insight into their child and how they perceive the world around them. It teaches children the value of sharing, conflict resolution, working in a group setting, mastery of skills and decision making. This helps parents identify children’s strengths, weaknesses, passions as well as issues the child may be struggling with. Directed-play can then be used to tackle these topics and teach coping mechanisms or new skill sets. It is important for parents to be aware that play is to be fun and must not be rushed or always goal oriented, this places unnecessary stress on the child. Parent imposed structures or beliefs on how play should occur may not resonate with the child and can lead to increased anxiety to perform or impress parents. Allow for organic flow, you may be surprised at what your child can teach you!

Allow for organic flow, you may be surprised at what your child can teach you!

Most importantly, playtime is for bonding, nurturing, learning and a way to really get to know your child.



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