As parents, we are our child’s first playmates and friends. Play is a cherished part of childhood and this is how you can encourage play and celebrate the uniqueness of your child
When your child opens his or her eyes to this beautiful world, it is your face that the child first witnesses. They know you by how you smell, your touch, your warmth and the way you hold them. They looked at you with wonder when you swayed your face from side to side. They giggled when you struck out your tongue or pulled funny faces. Your voice soothed them, your lullabies lulled them to sleep. No educational toy or gadget can replace you. Children love it when you become one of them and step into their worlds.
Play unfurls a different world altogether for children. It gives your child an opportunity to observe, learn, explore, follow their interests acquire and practice new skills at their own pace. The play brings out the unique intelligence of each child as it nurtures multiple intelligences. And most importantly create lasting bonds.
Apart from the plethora of developmental benefits that play offers it also creates opportunities for parents to instill values, strengthen communication and be a catalyst in problem-solving see the world through the eyes of their children. It is through Play that children learn to social skills, emotional intelligence, respecting the opinion of others and most importantly enjoying the present moment. Moreover, Play can be a stress reducer both for you and the kids.
During the preschool years, the little world of kids starts to get introduced to different people and personalities who are different from their parents, immediate family members and significant others. As kids start to interact with other kids and acquire social skills, their seemingly little universe will begin to grow in multifold. Now comes your role to encourage play as well as nurture their personal choices thereby contributing to shaping their personality. This is what you can do:
- Once your child settles into preschool, they’ll start making friends. You can organize play-dates with their mates
- Encourage different types of physical play. Physical activities like running cycling, throwing a ball etc strengthen eye-hand coordination as well as motor skills.
- Encourage pretend play. 2-3-year-olds love imitating their parents. If they try to feed themselves or dress up on their own encourage them to do so. It will boost their confidence and give them a sense of independence.
- Play helps stay active, agile and fit as a fiddle. It prevents obesity and keeps stress at bay.
- Kids may not be able to convey their feelings in words, but they can express a lot through physical play, art, and storytelling.
- Children since they primarily cannot express themselves tend to replay negative experiences in their mind and often try to relive it through play. For instance, if someone has hit them at school they may imitate the same behavior when they get angry at you. They may express their aggression through toys or pretend play. Parents can take the cue from such behaviors.
- Play builds the imagination and fosters creativity. You can encourage imaginative play by keeping a box of everyday items that your child can utilize during pretend play. Try incorporating kids versions of adult objects, such as play telephones and kitchen set (for boys too), foam blocks etc.
There is a beautiful world out there but there is another world of infinite possibilities and endless imagination inside of the child. It’s time we open the gates to that world through Play and watch them bloom.