Fond memories of playing with our friends as a child are common, but play time should not only be part of our memories, it should be a part of our children’s every day.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is now urging doctors to talk with families about getting kids to play.
- Types of play, include:
- Object play (playing with an object and learning about it)
- Physical, Locomotor, or Rough-and-Tumble Play
- Social or pretend
Why is play so important?
- Playing is crucial for learning, stress relief, and brain and skill development
- Developmentally appropriate play with parents and peers is an opportunity to promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills.
- Play supports the formation of the safe, stable, and nurturing relationships
- It can be good physical exercise
How should play be encouraged?
- It is so important that doctors may even write an actual prescription for play
- Doctors should discuss playing — including smiling back at infants and playing peak-a-boo — at every appointment until a child turns 2
- Schools should allow for unstructured playtime, as opposed to purely formal teaching, and include daily recess periods
- Avoid screens because they encourage passivity and the consumption of others’ creativity rather than active learning and socially interactive play. Plus, they take away time from real play
Hopefully with a new emphasis on play for our children, parents will find they can get in on the fun too!