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© 2017 | Valarie Stephens | Your Family Guru

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Child’s Play

We grownups sometimes forget the importance of play. In our noble quest to be mindful parents we can end up trying to fill our child’s every waking moment with educational stimulation & after-school activities. But children need good quantities of indoor and outdoor play as part of their daily routines. And while we should spend quality time interacting with our baby, child, or teen- they do not need us to continually interject or entertain them. Play, in itself provides a wealth of education. It is through play that their minds & bodies become engaged in life. It is how they discover the world around them. And how they begin to develop social skills like cooperation, sharing, & empathy. Through play young children learn basic scientific laws such as gravity and cause-and-effect, even before they go to school and learn the terms. And life tools like spacial reasoning, problem-solving, work/life balance, and resilience. Play provides a positive outlet to express thoughts and feelings; exert physical activity, refine large and fine motor skills...and so much more! So what may look like idleness or nonsensical repetition to you and me, is actually your child actively working at developing the basic foundations for everything else they will ever learn. Wow. Let that sink in. And don’t be afraid to designate some tech-free time to your child’s play. Give them a box, some art or fort making supplies. Or simply kick them outside for a while, and see what they create, discover & explore. There are new studies that show the need and benefit of allowing your child to become bored. Because boredom provides the perfect opportunity to be creative, resourceful and imaginative. So parents, make sure your child has plenty of time each day to play. And after allowing your child plenty of independent play, reward her and yourself, with the joy of playing together. Because we adults benefit from playtime as well!