Play is essential for proper child development because it favors any type of learning.
Through play, children learn to:
- Use your imagination.
- Develop your motor and cognitive skills.
- Experience different emotions and feelings.
- To concentrate.
- Set goals.
- Solve difficulties.
- Know how to relate to others.
- Know the world around them.
However, a child is not born knowing how to play and it is his parents who will first have to help him.
The importance of the game.
Play helps the child’s physical, cognitive, social and emotional development.
It is a free and spontaneous activity that produces pleasure. When playing, the child does not experience any type of pressure, as he does not have to achieve a specific goal, being able to test his skills and make mistakes.
Play is a learning situation, both for children and their parents. It gives them the opportunity to learn who they are, what they can do, and how to relate to the outside world. Through play, children can communicate thoughts, needs, problems, and feelings, so an adult can know a lot about a child just by looking, listening, and talking to him during play.
With the game, basic skills for social interaction are developed. Through its practice, children learn to cooperate, share, and be sensitive to the feelings of others.
The game is an activity that favors the positive concept of oneself. Children live in a world where adults make decisions, and through play their access to experience sensations of control, power and decision-making capacity is facilitated.
The importance of the game does not lie in the toys, which are mere instruments to carry out a certain game. That is why it is not necessary to buy expensive and complicated toys, since children are very creative and any object can be used to play. The protagonists of the game must always be the children.
Boy playing with his father
How to play with your child.
It is important that you play indistinctly, whether you are a boy or a girl, for a while every day and, if possible, at the same time, so that you establish the daily time of play. Make sure that this moment is exclusive, to show your son that, during that time, he is the most important thing for you.
If you have more than one child and you are not used to playing continuously with all of them at the same time, you can start doing it separately with each of them, because otherwise it will be difficult for you to pay the same attention to all of them equally.
It is good that, on occasions, all the members of the family participate together in the same game, avoiding doing it in a competitive way, since it is about having fun, not about winning.
If your child is small, it is convenient to play with dolls, buildings, cars, animals … that motivate their creativity. Keep in mind that the more things the toy does, the less the child will do.
It is advisable that you play with your child to build their own toys. It is more fun and enriching to turn a simple box into a car than to buy the most sophisticated one on the market.
It is essential to praise your child’s ideas and efforts during play, because this will lead to greater self-confidence.
Above all, you must avoid criticizing your child about the game he is playing, as well as giving all the importance to the final result.
Although it is important that you play with your child, it is also necessary for him to learn to play alone, so you have to encourage and reinforce these situations.
When you play with your child, avoid imposing your ideas on him, giving him orders or giving him too much help. The important thing is to follow the guidelines you set, imitating what comes to mind.
Take into account the age of your child, because their games will change according to the abilities they acquire.
It is important that you teach your child to share his toys with his siblings and friends or with you.
Your child needs to learn from a young age that playing is not doing what you want, but that there are certain times and places for it. You must also learn that when the game is over, you need to collect the items that have been used. If he is young, he should be helped, and when he grows up he will have to do it by himself.
family enjoying the game together
How to choose a good toy for your child.
It is essential that you think about your child’s tastes and interests and not yours.
Choose toys that are appropriate for their age, ability, and developmental level. As he grows, he will need to be involved in choosing his own toys.
Look for stimulating toys, which encourage their creativity, since sometimes very technical and sophisticated toys make the child become a passive being.
Although we are influenced by advertising, it is important to bear in mind that the best toy is not the most expensive, nor the most advertised, but the one that encourages creativity, activity, research and makes the child the true protagonist of the game.
It is necessary that your child has a variety of toys that promote different activities that allow him to develop different skills. This does not mean that you have so many that it prevents you from playing each of them.
When choosing a toy make sure it is solid, safe, durable and easy to use for your child.
There are times of the year (birthdays, Christmas …) where your child will find so many toys that he will not know what to do with them.
A possible alternative is that, after a few days, you save some to give them, little by little, later. This will allow you to enjoy all of them without getting tired and thus give them the value they deserve.
Avoid buying all the toys he asks for. Otherwise, you will cause them to be of no value and tire of them right away.
You should avoid deciding on sexist toys if your child cannot choose them yet. Any toy can be used by both boys and girls.
It is good that boys can play with dolls and that girls can play with cars.
You should avoid choosing aggressive or warlike toys that can promote certain violent behaviors in your child.
The right toys for every age.
The first year:
Toys suitable for touching, discovering, pushing, manipulating, moving and placing.
- Mobiles made of paper, plastic fabric in bright colors.
- Games for water.
- Rubber and rag dolls.
- Simple constructions with large pieces.
- Big cars.
- Plastic and fabric stories.
- Accessories to play with the sand.
Toys for babies
From 2 to 5 years:
Toys suitable for imagining, building, experimenting, drawing, expressing and moving.
- Three-wheeled bicycles.
- Pedal cars.
- Cars, garages, trains.
- Stories with images with more details and thinner sheets.
- Recordings of stories and songs.
- Cassette with microphone.
- Toys that mimic real life.
- Objects to load and unload.
- Simple musical instruments.
From 6 to 10 years:
Toys suitable for building, interpreting, collaborating, drawing, investigating and moving.
- Musical instruments.
- Electric cars.
- Experiment, board, computer and plastic expression games.
From 11 years:
Toys indicated to create, participate, invent, think, investigate, move, compete and collaborate.
- Experiment games.
- Board games.
- Plastic expression games.
- Computer games.
- Musical instruments: flutes, xylophones, organ …
- Complex constructions with small parts.
Play is an activity typical of childhood and is essential for the correct integral development of your child.
Through play your child will exercise both his mind and body and at the same time he will get to know and assimilate the world around him.
Buying toys is not enough. It is essential that you encourage and share playtime with your child, to create a space that allows you to communicate and have fun with him.
Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.