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Playtime! Kids discover the world through play

05/04/2016 01:34PM ● Published by Jennifer Gonzalez

By: Connie Tator

 

How does playing help children discover the world?

            Play is the most important activity in a child's day. It's like work; it's their sense of purpose. It can become more important to them than eating sleeping, or in some cases going potty. Play is an opportunity for children to learn how things work in our world, problem solve and engage with other children. It gives them life skills.

 

 How can parents keep playing fun?

            Mom and dad and other caregivers can make play fun just by taking the time to actually "play with their kids." It doesn’t matter what the activity is.

            Children crave time with their parents. It makes them feel special. Have a pillow fight, play outside, play a board game, dance and listen to your favorite music together. Make arts and crafts or even going on a walk and talk about what you see along the way. Having fun with your child is vital, and you might even discover they actually become more compliant!

 

How can parents keep playing safe?

            Set boundaries. At the same time, "explain" to him or her why it’s not safe to play in certain areas or with certain things and what the consequences will be. Children might need a few reminders. That's okay. Eventually they will get it. They are little people who understand a lot more than we think!

 

Are sports skills important for kids who don’t play sports?

            Sports skills are so important, whether children go on to play team sports later or not. Sports help children break down barriers, making them feel good about themselves physically and mentally. They build social skills with their teammates as well as adults (coaches/officials). Sports teach kids about rules, how to win and lose, discipline and helps to build positive self-esteem. Sports also give kids drive and determination. Studies show because of sports children tend to excel in academics!

How can parents be involved, but still give their children independence? 

            When it comes to independence, parents and children will both have to step out of their comfort zone. It’s not always easy to do. There are many stages of independence in a child’s life, but it starts as early as infancy. Teach children to play independently for short periods of time. Parents should also put them in large and small social settings with other children early on. 

            As children grow, independence changes. Between the ages of 4 and 5, it may be allowing a child to play alone in the backyard with supervision. Around the age of 8 and up, parents can consider allowing their child to ride their bike up and down the street or around the block, as long as it is a safe environment.

            Try to avoid the word "no” as much as possible during toddler years. Instead, give more choices, even begin small responsibilities. More than anything, parents should celebrate their child's successes. It builds positive self-esteem.

How often should kids play?       

            Kids should play every day! As kids get older, parents should monitor their screen time with electronics.  The American Heart Association recommends 60 minutes of exercise per day.

How do you play with your children?

            There are so many ways to play! In cases where there are siblings, make sure they are getting one-on-one time, too!  If there’s only one child, get them together with friends their age.  Physical play can help children learn balance and coordination. As they become more in control over their own body, they will naturally become more confident.

How many children do you have? How old are they?

            I have two children.  David is 10 and Simone is 4.

How can a parent increase their child’s self-confidence through play?

            Watching a toddler attempt a forward roll, tossing a ball with a preschooler or playing Legos with an older child may seem insignificant, but it actually has a huge impact on a child’s self-worth. When a parent plays with their child rather than observing them, that child will see that they are valuable to Mom and Dad. Parents will also send the message that they are the most important role model in their child’s life and share in their interests.

            Playing with kids builds bonds that will last forever, well into the teen years! It lets the child know he or she is loved and appreciated. It opens the door for sharing problems and concerns when the need arises. It helps the parent get to know and understand the uniqueness of each child. It is also a great stress reducer for overworked parents!




CV Family Connie Tator CV KIDS
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