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The Importance of Play During Child-Parent Interaction

12 August 2021

The pandemic era has made some positive changes in the filial relationship between parents and children. With most parents and children spending most of their time in the comfort of their home, family bonding is on the rise.

The home now becomes a focal point for more interactions among family members that strengthen relationships among family members. Playing games indoors such as card games, video gaming, and other fun activities boosts relationships making children more emotionally secure while playing with their parents. Playing games outdoors such as basketball, football, and similar games are equally effective in sharing fun and happiness among family members.

Playing with children is said to help children in their total development. An article published online delineates the importance of playing together, parents and children.

"Play is a defining element for the harmonious development of children. Play is the child's basic activity that engages his/her global psychism. The parent can efficiently prepare his/her child for adult life through play: for the role of parent, professional, and even for civic responsibility" (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042812013304).

"Play is a form of specific manifestation which can be encountered in the case of every child. Every child needs to play in order to develop oneself and to form a distinctive personality"  (taken from the same source).

Father and daughter playing tea party on the lawn

Thus, parents should see to it that they play with their children at times or let them play with other children which are essential for their emotional and social growth. By giving them the chance to play, it will also help in preparing them mentally to engage in their school activities such as studying their lessons and doing their homework. 

Letting them play with other children also veers them away from sedentary activities such as online gaming, or surfing the net that takes most of their time that may eventually lead to physical and mental disorders. Children should be active physically rather than stay in one corner playing alone in front of a game console or computer screen which makes them physically and socially inactive. Their personality will not be fully developed when this will be a continuous situation in a child’s life.

There are other important points of letting children play with their parents or with other children. As one source affirms,”

"Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child" (https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2006-2697).

"Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is important to healthy brain development.”

“Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction with other children or adult caregivers.7–14 As they master their world, play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges."

"In contrast to passive entertainment, play builds active, healthy bodies. In fact, it has been suggested that encouraging unstructured play may be an exceptional way to increase physical activity levels in children, which is one important strategy in the resolution of the obesity epidemic."

What about the parents, is playing with their children also an important overall development of the child? The same article source that is published online has more to discuss about the parent-child interactions.

"When parents observe their children in play or join with them in child-driven play, they are given a unique opportunity to see the world from their child’s vantage point as the child navigates a world perfectly created just to fit his or her needs."

" The interactions that occur through play tell children that parents are fully paying attention to them and help to build enduring relationships."

“Parents who have the opportunity to glimpse into their children’s world learn to communicate more effectively with their children and are given another setting to offer gentle, nurturing guidance”

" Less verbal children may be able to express their views, experiences, and even frustrations through play, allowing their parents an opportunity to gain a fuller understanding of their perspective. Quite simply, the play offers parents a wonderful opportunity to engage fully with their children."

With those facts already presented proving that children need to play as part of their life routine that could be done with their parents and other young children at home and in other natural settings such as in school. Play is also relevant for academic preparations the child improvement in his school achievements, as the source also affirms that;

"Play is integral to the academic environment. It ensures that the school setting attends to the social and emotional development of children as well as their cognitive development. It has been shown to help children adjust to the school setting and even to enhance children’s learning readiness, learning behaviors, and problem-solving skills."

"Social-emotional learning is best integrated with academic learning; it is concerning if some of the forces that enhance children’s ability to learn are elevated at the expense of others. Play and unscheduled time that allow for peer interactions are important components of social-emotional learning." (taken from the same source: https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2006-2697) 

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