What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Play To Your Child?
We all agree that play is part and parcel of childhood job description. It is the only meaningful activity that most of us did when we were kids. At such young ages, playing might seem like something inconsequential that babies and kids use just to pass the time.
The truth is that a lot of things go on behind the scenes and in the children’s brains when they play. The process of building skills to help in problem-solving, overcoming mental, physical, psychological and social challenges and many others happen in any young one while playing.
All the laughter, jumping, climbing, sliding, running and the carefree environment during play does more than just providing fun for children and grownups as well. So, what are some of the benefits of play to children? If you have been trying to know some of the benefits children gain by playing, consider yourself lucky.
This is because this post will discuss everything you need to know regarding how babies and even adults normally benefit from playing. Here are some benefits of play that you probably didn’t know about before.
1. Play Is Good for Your Physical Health
All the running, jumping, swinging and climbing are all just for fun, and nothing else at first. Unknown to you is that they are more than just fun for your child. Playing helps keep little ones physically fit and healthy.
While playing, children take their bodies through various muscle reflexes and learn to control these movements. In the process, your kids develop gross and fine motor skills as well as increasing their flexibility.
Getting involved in physical activities also facilities the development of stronger muscles and increases the bone density. Lung and heart functions become improved. This helps to prevent the occurrence of diabetes, obesity and reduces cholesterol levels.
With the increased access to technology these days, children find it more pleasurable to stay indoors and ignore playing outside. As the parent, you need to limit their screen time and include outdoor plays in their schedules. The kids will benefit a lot from the active and healthy lifestyle.
2. Better Social Skills
This benefit is not always a reserve for kids and toddlers only. Even adults like us develop our social skills the more we play with one another. Parallel play always encourages us to play side by side, hence boosting our communication skills as we interact with one another.
For children, they learn to cooperate with one another, work together as a team and work on their verbal communication skills. Another social aspect is positive socialization. By playing together, children get to learn how to play nicely with one another as they agree on certain rules. With such rules in place, the kids can play together in harmony.
The play also enables toddlers and children to share their life experiences and the troubles they are going through. By sharing their emotional experiences, children heal their emotional wounds in a way, hence resulting in better emotional health. By regularly playing together, kids learn to trust one another and feel safe when in one another’s company.
3. Play Stimulates Creativity and Imagination
Here is the deal, imaginative and “pretend play” which forms the cornerstones of any child’s world of play if of great essence. One of the best ways of spurring creativity and imagination in your child is by encouraging her to play with dolls. When your kid learns to be creative at such a younger age, you can be somehow sure that she will enjoy learning some subjects taught in schools like Science that require a lot of creativity.
Imagining scenarios and trying to work them out is great for your child and will come in handy when she reaches adulthood. It is not only dolls that trigger imagination. Any everyday objects can do too. Pans and pots can be imagined to be drum sets; blocks of wood can be boats in the world of imagination.
Besides pretend-play with objects, role play is another way of encouraging creativity. Being a superhero, police officer and daddy enables him to explore various scenarios and their possible outcomes. In most cases, these scenarios are things he is struggling to understand.
If your little girl is having a hard time adapting to the arrival of her younger sibling, she may mimic how you nurture her on her dolls. In this way, she gets used to the idea of having a younger one around and takes control of her emotions.
4. Building Self Esteem and Self Confidence
When playing, children go through different types of hurdles. When they complete these hurdles, there is a feel-good factor that engulfs their faces. At such points, their self-esteem gets a boost.
When on a playground, there are certain apparatus that makes this process a fruitful one. Take the overhead hanging and climbers for example. A combination of these and free play encourages kids to take risks as they play.
After overcoming such a risk, the kid has a sense of accomplishment that boosts his self-confidence. Additionally, as children get involved in other types of free play and dramatic play such as conflict resolution, they develop socially and become more aware of their abilities.
You should, therefore, allow your kids and those of your neighbors to play on their own at some point without too much supervision. When alone, they encounter situations which they have to solve without you. The success of such plays is a great way of building your little one’s self-confidence and esteem.
5. Emotional Growth
When we were kids, I used to get into “pretend play” a lot of the times. You should encourage your child to do so too. This type of play allows them to utilize their imagination and in turn break out of their reality and limitations.
As kids play freely in the house, playgrounds or school, they can freely express their inner emotions. Otherwise, they would have held them back to themselves. It is such free expression of emotions that are beneficial in growing the emotional stability in little kids.
Another great aspect of play is the ability to help toddlers keep their emotions in check. Kids do argue with one another from time to time as they play. In the beginning, flares might go up, but with time, the kids outgrow this unwanted behavior and resolve their differences without resorting to fights.
It is such emotional stability and strength that play imparts on preschoolers that helps them through their schooling days. The play is also beneficial in releasing of emotions from children who have had traumatizing experiences.
Free play acts as a proven therapeutic means of relieving traumatic stress. In the course of play, the kids “play out” their emotions and share freely with others.
6. Play Facilitates a Healthy Brain Development
Research results have it that 75% of an individual’s brain grows from when they are born, during toddlerhood and when in their early 20s. And all these are due to the presence of play in their lives.
As children play, connections between their brain nerve cells occur. This stimulation is what leads to the development of baby and childhood milestones. It is in this way that babies end up developing skills such walking, coordination, jumping and running.
Other fine motor skills that result from brain development includes writing, detailed hand-work, and manipulation of tools. As toddlers play, more connectivity in the brain occurs, more so in the frontal lobe part of the brain. It is this part that facilitates the making of good decisions and well planning.
So, what are some of the benefits of play to children? Discussed above are the major benefits children gain when they play. These benefits of play to babies, kids, toddlers, teens, and adults are undeniable. Playing also provides you with an opportunity to bond as a family. You might be working parents, hence the need to spend more quality time with the little one during play.
Playing is also fun, and this provides your children with an opportunity to laugh most of the times. And as you always know, laughter is the best medicine.