Adults tend to dismiss the importance of children’s play. They just assume that play is strictly for fun and it is something rather uncomplicated that children like to do. There is an old saying, child’s play, that expresses the idea that there is nothing more to play than a straightforward, simple task.
The truth of the matter is that child’s play is much more complicated and complex than you might think. Research has discovered the way in which children play holds a tremendous influence on their overall development and can help shape their lifelong interactions and interests. In other words, children aren’t just playing, they are figuring out the lessons of the universe and how to get along with others.
According to a plethora of research, playing children are learning to grow and develop into healthy and capable human beings. River Valley Pediatrics in New Braunfels offers you the ways in which playtime for children is so important.
Connect to Nature
Play helps children connect to nature. One of the unfortunate realities of modern times is that many of us, and our children, spend far too much time indoors, sitting on couches and chairs with noses buried in smartphones or tablets or idly watching television.
As human beings, it is in our nature to be involved and spend more time outdoors surrounded by plants, birds, trees and the sounds of nature.
Research has shown that children who spend unstructured time in nature tend to have better physical health and have a more positive outlook. Playing outside teaches our children to explore, take risks and be creative. Being outside creates challenging conditions, like the weather, for example, that forces us how to deal with the elements and enjoy the experience. Through this, children who play outside become resilient.
Work Through Emotions
Children’s play is full of conflict. You know this if you are a parent who has had to negotiate peace between bickering siblings. While children are going through their daily play routines, they are often processing powerful emotions. Research has shown us that children use play to process negative emotions after going through a traumatic experience.
Another study found that children use play to help process the more mundane negative emotions associated with daily life. So play makes children more emotionally resilient.
Promotes Social Skills
A key developmental goal for every child is to become well-socialized and able to interact with others, and play is critical in this process. The imaginary games that kids play allow them to set their own rules. When children set rules in the games they play, they are not just playing, but are negotiating boundaries in their world of learning.
Children’s play teaches them some very complex and profound skills all humans need, such as empathy and respect. In playing together, children learn how to negotiate boundaries and learn to respect others.
It is truly amazing what a child can do with a simple stick. A stick they find in their backyard can become a doll or a plane, basically, it becomes whatever they desire. And what about the scenarios they create with their dolls or stuffed animals? They are also great at coming up with new ways of using everyday objects for magical purposes.
Creativity comes when children play. In fact, children are so creative that often they don’t even care much for the gift you bought them, it’s the box that it came in that draws their interest and creativity.
Advances Physical Development
One of the most obvious aspects of the benefits of play is that it makes your child more physically active. Just by simply running around the backyard or climbing a tree, your children are filling their lungs, burning calories and stretching their muscles. They are also gaining coordination and improving their confidence for physical challenges.
Studies show that children need less screen time and more time doing physical activities. This will reduce childhood obesity and set more kids on a path to being healthy. Experts insist that children should be given as much unstructured time as possible to play outside in parks and yards in order to expand their physical skills and create an interest in healthy exercise and sports.
River Valley Pediatrics specializes in well-child exams, acute medical care and management of behavioral problems. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.