We’re inviting all parents and guardians to join us for Playtober, a month dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of play and empowering parents to make time for free play and expression in our children’s busy lives.
“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” - Kay Redfield Jamison
Play is essential to the cognitive, emotional, social and physical development of all children, according to the American Academy of Paediatrics. It also offers an opportunity for parents to fully engage with their children, leading to enduring relationships. Play is so important it has been recognised as a right of every child by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights.
There are so many benefits of play including:
- Develops their imagination, motor skills, thinking and emotional strength
- Builds their confidence and resilience to face future challenges
- Develops social skills like cooperation, communication, sharing, negotiation and self-advocacy
- Practice decision-making, self-pace, discover their interests and fully engage in their passions
- It builds active, healthy bodies
- It is a simple joy that is a cherished part of childhood
Despite this, today many children have less free time and opportunity for child-driven play due to a hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure, or an increase in scheduled activities and screen time. This can result in children who have increased stress and anxiety, reduced motor skills and concentration, and less time for families to just be together.
So how can you encourage child-driven play?
- Make sure children have lots of free, unscheduled time for play
- Turn off electronic devices
- Take a back seat and let your child take the lead on what and how to play
- Invest in traditional, open-ended toys like blocks and dolls which allow children to use their imagination
- Get outside for active physical play
Let’s give our children the time and freedom to play. Let’s give them a childhood of wonder and discovery. This along with parental love and guidance is what they really need to be happy, successful adults.
So come on, let’s play this Playtober. Share your play time on Instagram using the hashtag #playtober
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