Let them just play!
How true that is for our young kids. Play is said to be a child’s work and if you really think about it, that just makes sense. Through play a baby learns about the world around him – important things that will help him to function through each stage of life ahead. Through play, toddlers learn to communicate and relate to others. Play is just plain important.
Unfortunately, in our busy lives and with the pressures of getting our kids into the right schools, we have a tendency to throw the idea of “play” into a closet somewhere to pursue “more valuable” activities. Yet moms need to be reminded that children learn best through play and that true play is essential to the development of your child.
So let’s talk about P.L.A.Y.!
Play should be PLANNED. Now I’m not saying here that you need to structure every moment of play time – in fact, I’m saying just the opposite. The purpose and planning is only for you to insure that your child has a good chunk of play time in the schedule daily. For many moms, that means scheduling it in! We lead full and busy lives so pull out your calendar and mark of some play time for your child.
Toys should be LIMITED. I can’t stress this one enough. The temptation is to go out and buy every techy and plastic toy in the toy store. Except for maybe some blocks, puzzles and a baby doll, don’t do it! A child’s best toys are those in nature and around your house. Give them real pots and pans to “cook” with. Keep a stash of boxes in various sizes around and you’ll keep preschoolers busy for hours. Markers, crayons and scrap paper should be accessible at all times. Just limit the actual toys. You’ll be amazed at how creative your kids can be and how their minds can grow and expand just by limiting the amount of toys you buy.
Make sure there is time for ACTIVE play. You may need to schedule this in too. Your child needs time for quiet indoor play but he also needs to just get outside and run! Don’t think that has to mean a play date at the park every day – it could be as simple as playing in the back yard for an hour with a rake and a hose or doing relay races with a sibling.
And then, of course, there is the YOU factor. Although it’s important that your child have independent play time, the best thing you can do is play with your child daily. Get down on his level and interact based on what he is doing. Involve yourself in his imaginary play and have fun doing it.
Are you interested in reading more articles about children and play? Then visit the About.com All About Parenting Blog Carnival when you CLICK HERE.