It’s been a long and tumultuous two years for us all as we navigated the ins and outs of the pandemic. Our roles as parents expanded greatly to include teacher, coach, playmate and referee with each lockdown and school and extracurricular closure. The strain on parents has been real! With some light at the end of the tunnel and school, sports and dance classes reopening for children, perhaps it’s time for parents to focus once again on playing with their children!
Children benefit greatly from unstructured play with siblings and peers, but there are great benefits that come from playing with their parents. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Play helps children develop skills – through play, children develop all kinds of skills, like social skills and self-regulation. As they interact with you they are watching how you behave in social settings and what is acceptable or not. When you are playing with them they also develop their creativity, flexibility, gross and fine motor skills. When they are playing with parents vs other children, they tend to engage in more varied and mature types of play, so they develop different skills! Engaging with adults widens their imaginations.
- Play helps develop your relationship – stronger bonds are formed as they experience joy, make memories and learn to trust you. Try to incorporate humour and laughter when playing with your child, it creates a strong bond by building connection.
- Play is good for your health! – Mom and dad also benefit from laughter, the joy of seeing their child develop and simply by spending quality time together. It’s a great way to unwind from the day and have some fun yourself – you deserve it!!
So, now that schools, teachers and coaches are back, take a break from some of the new roles and engage in some good old fashioned play with your child!