Playtime. What hidden powers could this slot of time, so valued by little ones across the world, possibly contain? The time your child has to play is often overlooked and undervalued by surrounding adults. Many people view playtime as a way for children to simply remain occupied and pass the time. Recent research indicates, however, that playtime serves as so much more.
Doctors Micheal Yogman, Andrew Garner, et al, members of the Committee on Psychological Aspects of Child and Family Health, wrote a clinical report for Pediatrics titled, “The power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children,”. According to their research, they found that playtime plays a key role in the way your child handles stressors in their life, writing how, “The mutual joy and shared communication and attunement that parents and children can experience during play regulates the body’s stress response,”. Play is actually quite a therapeutic part of childhood.
At times, both parents and educators focus primarily on academics while disregarding the importance of play. But Yogman, et al. are pushing for pediatricians all over to incorporate prescriptions for play, (and a curriculum with playful learning), into their treatment plans. Thus, pediatricians have been focusing more and more on the importance of facilitating play in children.
What are some of the skills enhanced by play? Play promotes social-emotional, cognitive, self-regulation, and language skills important for executive functioning and the development of a pro social brain. Additionally, playtime is a commonly overlooked opportunity to nurture safe and stable relationships with caregivers. All children need this in order to thrive. So, playtime is actually super important. Who would have known?
The full article in Pediatrics further details specific categories of play, development of play, it’s effects on brain development, its benefits and challenges, and many more important topics in this area.