Parents want nothing but the best opportunities for their kids. There is great satisfaction in getting through the day knowing you did everything in your power to help your child grow their mind, develop their skills, and lead them on the right path of becoming a successful adult. As it turns out, that end goal does not have to be a complicated equation, at least according to new research. It will require playtime.
A new published clinical report lays out the prescription for raising creative, curious, and healthy children. It’s quite simple. One of the most powerful ways children learn to look at the world, think critically and develop their skill set is through playing.
According to the report, playtime is crucial in child development and helps develop the brain. It also acts as a buffer against the outside stress that a child may face. The American Academy of Pediatrics has underscored the importance of playtime by recommending that doctors talk to parents about their children’s play. According to the research, it helps to develop a whole toolbox of skills kids will go on to use during their adulthood such as social, emotional, language, and cognitive skills. As the world becomes more competitive and globally connected, these skill sets may prove to be invaluable to the next generation. Their time spent on the playground, or playing with building blocks is also helping build emotional resilience.
Part of the research revealed that 3-to-4-year-olds who were anxious about preschool were relieved of some of that stress when they played with teachers or their peers for 15 minutes, this was compared to children who just listened to a teacher reading a story.
READ MORE: Toddlers Can Play Safely With Pets
However, the outlook for playtime has not fared well over the years. As times have changed so has recess at school. The researcher found children’s playtime has decreased by 25% from 1981 to 1997. A staggering 30% of kindergartners no longer have recess. The AAP also urges teachers to focus more on play instead of just on what is learned from a textbook. This will help students develop their own curiosity.
Guidelines from the AAP remind parents the playtime can start in the very early stages of a baby’s life and continue through their childhood. This means new parents should watch out for and try to respond to nonverbal cues from their infants during those first precious few months of life.
If your baby is smiling, smile back. It’s one of the perks during that sleepless exhaustion filled newborn stage to get a smile out of them. Peek-a-boo is also an important game for early development as your infant grows into toddlerhood. The next time your toddler wants to play with you, seize the moment. It’ll help nurture your relationship with your child. Playtime is one of the best parts of parenthood and it's what the doctor ordered to let kids thrive, instill a sense of curiosity, and ultimately lead to being a happy human being.