Why Kids Need Playtime More Than Ever
Today’s kids often have structured playtime that includes carefully coordinated play dates with friends. Others barely have time for play due to homework and extracurricular activities. This shift away from free play is making it harder for kids to develop certain skills and learn important lessons that they will need later in life. Find out more about why spontaneous, creative playtime is so crucial for kids these days.
Building Emotional and Social Skills
Unstructured play provides children with a number of opportunities to develop healthy emotional and social skills that will benefit them throughout life. While playing, kids have a chance to express how they are feeling, which helps them learn to do so in a healthy manner rather than hiding their emotions or displaying them in a harmful way, such as lashing out at others in anger or frustration.
Playtime with other kids allows children to learn how to work through conflicts with others, which is another important skill that they will use as they get older. Playing provides ways for kids to build their social skills so that they can learn to form healthy relationships with others. They learn how to wait for their turn or how to handle losing a game. They also learn how to cooperate and communicate with others through free play. Even at an early age, kids are working on building these skills when they engage in unstructured play.
Learning Important Lessons
Being able to play in an unstructured way gives kids a chance to work on their learning skills as well. During play, kids often end up asking questions about things that lead to a better understanding of different concepts. They also work on remembering things, which helps develop this essential cognitive skill. Playtime provides kids with chances to build creative problem-solving skills as well, and it has the added benefit of reducing stress. This results in kids who are better able to handle issues or conflicts while maintaining a sense of curiosity about their environment.
Key Components of Playtime
Not all forms of play have the same benefits for kids. Rigid, structured playtime is not as effective at helping them learn and develop important skills as free, unstructured play. In order for kids to fully benefit, playtime should be something that they choose to do when they want rather than when they are told to. Playtime should also be fun, whether that means energetic play that involves running around or quieter play that involves building things or solving puzzles. It’s important for kids to be able to use their imagination and creativity while they play as well.
When your kids need dental care, contact Wright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry to schedule an appointment. Keep in mind that your kids can play in our waiting area while they wait to be seen by our pediatric dentist.