Young children discover the world around them through play, and, believe it or not, play is actually the best way for children to reach their full potential in brain development.
During a recent parenting workshop to highlight the importance of play in a child’s life, Carrie Lupoli, a child development consultant and a parenting expert who has more than 16 years of international experience as a special education teacher, school administrator and executive director, spoke to parents about the importance of play in their children’s overall development.
I got the opportunity to ask Carrie a few questions and I share her answers here.
What is the importance of play in a young child’s overall development and how important are the early years of a child’s life?
The brain is the only organ not fully developed at birth so having a child comes with a mind-boggling amount of responsibility to develop that brain as effectively as possible!
Also, brain development is rapid and most intensive in the first 5 years so parents don’t have the time to wait until a child is in school.
Physical, cognitive and social/emotional skills are necessary for success, and it is within the first 5 years that those skills must be introduced and developed in our children.
Simply put, so much learning and development happens in child-initiated play time and no other method can give a child all the exposure he or she needs during that crucial window of brain development.
What’s your advice to parents on how to develop their child’s love for learning?
Children have a natural curiosity to learn and explore. When children initiate the play, they are telling parents what they want to learn about and that those things interest them.
Parents can set the stage and the environment for the exploration, by providing safe toys, outdoor opportunities and by being present to offer encouragement, ask questions about what they are doing and help them problem solve.
Kids know how to play and sometimes as adults we think we need to show them how to do it, or we are afraid we are going to do it wrong, but let them guide us! Believe it or not, our children are much better at guiding us through this process then we are at guiding them!
How can we, as parents, help our children reach their optimal all-around potential not only academically, but socially and emotionally too?
When we parent with the goal of raising independent, successful adults, we know that developing our children emotionally is just as important (if not more) than their cognitive development.
In fact, in a recent book called How Children Succeed, the author, Paul Tough, studied decades of child development and determined that the biggest contributor to success later in life are character strengths.
He also goes on to discuss that these skills can be taught to our children and to do this most effectively, we need to start at birth.
Through play, parents can have multiple opportunities to help their children sort through emotions such as frustration, anxiety, perseverance, self-control, empathy, gratitude and so much more! Playing outdoors also helps kids stay physically active and have a healthy overall being.
Kids are always excited to experience new things everyday, with your support as a friend and a parent, and the right nutrition, they can grow strong and healthy to allow them to experience more together with you every day. Friso is formulated to support your child’s developing needs so you can give the best to your child and enjoy motherhood. They believe that if kids are strong on the inside, it will help them to enjoy the fun of exploring the world outside together with you.
Mums, what are your thoughts on the importance of play in a kid’s life? Let us know by leaving a comment below.