As parents and caregivers, we may wonder when or how we should step in during playtime. We hear so much about the importance of independence for our children that we can often be unsure if us getting involved will benefit them. We might also be dealing with packed schedules and struggle to carve out time to play. However, being involved in playtime as a parent or caregiver is an important choice that should be prioritized.
Today, we’ll break down why this is and how parents and caregivers can be involved during playtime. As a new school year begins, take time to plan for involved playtime to encourage and connect with children.
Playing with Children Fosters Learning
Much of your child(ren)’s development takes place through play. As your child(ren) use their imagination, they learn important skills such as interacting with others, planning, organizing, and sharing. Play also gives them the opportunity to sharpen their minds as they are exposed to new ideas, new challenges, and new ways to see the world around them.
Parents and caregivers can help facilitate this learning by being involved during playtime. Parents can provide and challenge their child(ren) with new toys, puzzles, and outlets for their creativity. Asking children questions, encouraging them to think outside of the box, and exploring new ideas and movements with them can help foster a new way of learning. Having fun as they learn helps children better absorb and appreciate new ideas.
Playing with Children Fosters Connection
In our world of technology, it’s not often we find ourselves completely “unplugged.” Truly making time to connect with children without screens allows parents and caregivers to be fully present. Playing can help foster conversations, laughs, smiles, and connection. It can help create or deepen the bond that exists between children and their parent or caregiver.
If you’re worried about your schedule, try setting some parameters for when play can happen. Maybe it can happen after dinner for an hour or every weekend. Carve out time to make playing with your children a priority. This can also help avoid burnout, as playing with a young child involves time and energy on your part. Setting these parameters can help both parties know what to expect from playtime together.
Playing with Children Creates a Safe Environment
While we want children to learn independence, there are some things better done supervised. When encouraging children to play outside, to try new activities, or learn a new game, having supervision creates a safe environment. Not only that, but interacting during these new activities can help encourage children to explore new things and create new memories with parents and caregivers.
Engaging in play with children goes beyond just fun. It gives parents and caregivers an opportunity to encourage curiosity, ask questions, build connections, and develop new interests together. How will you get involved when it comes to playtime?
As you begin preparing for a new school year, we encourage you to choose a preschool or child care center that believes in the importance of caregiver involvement in play. Have questions about preschool and child care in Medford and Middle Island? We’d love to answer them.