Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Play. It comes so naturally to children. I often refer to play as a child's natural state of being. They can make anything into a game! The best part, it keeps things light, energetic, and FUN! Play is also an important role of child development! The Harvard Center for the Developing Child recently published a video on the role of play in early childhood.
Play has a way of supporting the three core principles to improve child and family outcomes. These are the very principles which have led to the creation of Colo!
1) To strengthen parent-child relationships (i.e. understanding babies' cues, serve)
2) Strengthen core life skills (i.e. sleep/play routines, social interactions and activities)
3) Reducing sources of stress (i.e. transitioning into parenthood, family care planning)
Who knew that playful interactions were so critical to a child's growth and development? Play introduces a child to complex social interactions. There are rules to follow in games. There is a back and forth, waiting for others to respond. There is also a lightheartedness that helps children become capable of handling uncertainty and challenges in life.
So when do we engage in play? It can be challenging as a busy parent. You may have several priorities you are trying to balance. The good news is that playful interactions with your child doesn't need to be a time consuming activity. Actually, sitting down with your child to play for even a few minutes can have a lasting impact. The important part is being able to pause and take the opportunity to play when your child is showing they are ready for play. This also tells them that you have made them a priority, over work, or other demands. It tells them, "you are loved, your are important, and I will make time for you when you need it". Those are pretty powerful messages for a child!
How do you play with your child? It can be as simple as taking interest in their actions or a toy they are playing with. Asking open-ended questions about what they are playing with is a good place to start! Play looks differently at different ages. Babies as young at 4 months will play by engaging with object, but as you can imagine, 2-year-olds play more through touch and experiencing their environment!
At Colo, we have based our programs around the central concept of PLAY! Each of our interactive workshops allows for time for parents and their children to play and interact age-appropriate activities. We work with families to build strong parent-child relationships, strengthen core life skills, and reduce sources of stress.
If you are looking for ideas for age-appropriate play/activities, we have a new playgroup series called Baby Colo Club. Stay tuned for more updates on toddler and pre-school play groups!