Children need to play with each other, but they also need playtime with their parents and caregivers.
When adults play with children, children develop:
- Social skills.
- Thinking skills.
- The ability to manage their emotions.
- Self-discipline and the ability to manage their behavior.
Children need other caring adults, in addition to parents, in their lives. It’s possible – and helpful – for children to love and become attached to more than one adult. Children thrive when they receive consistent attention from caring adults in their lives!
Help children get the most out of playing:
- Jump in. Encourage children’s imagination by becoming involved wholeheartedly and going along with their games.
- Let go. Add to a child’s play experiences by creating imaginative games and finding new ways to use toys. Use blocks as flying cars. Pretend to be animals with dress-up clothes, regular clothes, or blankets. Encourage a child to make-believe and think creatively.
- Take a break. Even though children learn a lot when interacting with others, playtime alone gives them time to process what they’ve been doing.
- Let children guide their play. Let them pick the activity and decide how it is played.
- Pay attention to the child’s mood and adapt the play to that mood. If your child seems quiet, allow quiet games. If your child seems energetic, play more active games.
- Let children make things up. Children need to use their imaginations and make up fanciful stories. Go along with your children when they tell you far-out things. Let your children write a letter to the Tooth Fairy if they have the idea. Say things like, “Oh! Tell me more about your unicorn friend,” instead of telling them unicorns don’t exist. Say, “What kind of dog are you?” instead of saying they’re not really a dog.