Ready Set Go to Kindergarten

Lets Play

Nicolle Bellmore Pierse - Thursday, January 03, 2019

Let’s Play!

School has already started for many children and parents are making lunches, carpooling, and helping with homework. Even our youngest children are going to preschool or attending day care. With back-to-school activities keeping families busy it is easy to forget to make time for play.

According to the American Academy Pediatrics (AAP), “Research shows play can improve children's abilities to plan, organize, get along with others, and regulate emotions. In addition, play helps with language, math and social skills, and even helps children cope with stress.”

To help parents keep play an important part of childhood, the AAP offers some examples of ways to do this with children from birth to six years. Here are a few they suggest:

* Playful learning can start with a baby's first smile. Responding with a smile of your own is a form of play that also teaches a baby a critical social-emotional skill: "You can get my attention and a smile from me anytime you want―just by smiling yourself."

* Play peek-a-boo.

* Give your child blocks, empty containers, wooden spoons, and puzzles. Simple and inexpensive objects are some of the best ways to support a child's creativity.

* Read regularly to and with your child. Encourage pretend play based on these stories.

* Schedule time for your child to interact with friends to practice socializing and building friendships.

* Provide opportunities for your child to sing and dance.

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