Why Playtime is So Important
As a parent, you put a lot of pressure on yourself to make sure that your child is raised right. However, not everything when it comes to raising children is so serious. In fact, playtime is a very important part of your child’s development, and engaging in play with your infant might provide you will some much-needed stress relief, too. Whether your baby plays by themselves or with you, studies show that they can benefit in a wide variety of areas of their life, from their intellectual development to their physical development and their social development. If you are looking for ways to put your child in the best position to grow up to be healthy, here are some reasons why it is important to prioritize play.
You may think that the coos and babbling sounds your baby makes are just cute, but they are actually your child’s first attempts at language. Infants pick up on the fact that you are using words to communicate with them, and their little brains are working overtime to try and figure out how to talk back to you. Their little sounds are their attempts to communicate with you how they feel, whether they are excited, frustrated, dismayed, or any number of emotions that a child can experience. Games that involve singing for, speaking to, or reading out loud to your child are a great way to help them increase their vocabulary and have a greater understanding of language. To help your child with their language development, play recordings of children’s songs, read to them, and give them toys that talk.
Gross and Fine Motor Skills
Depending on what they are playing with, your child can learn both gross and fine motor skills from playtime. For example, consider a rattle. As your child learns how to grasp this object, they are developing fine motor skills. When they stick the rattle in their mouth, however, they are developing gross motor skills. Playtime is essential for your child’s physical development. To enhance your baby’s motor skills, try hanging a mobile above their crib. This will attract their attention and they will start to reach for it, wondering what exactly that musical toy is above their heads.
As an infant, cognitive thinking is developed first through learning cause and effect: When I shake the rattle, it makes a sound! When I cry, mommy comes. This naturally occurs as your child’s brain develops. However, there are many different toys and playtime activities that also aid your child’s cognition. For example, puzzles help children figure out how to put things back together. When I put this piece next to this piece, it makes a picture! You also want your baby to start learning shapes, numbers, colors, and sizes, so it is a good idea to invest in toys that promote this. For example, stacking rings or building blocks are a great way for infants to learn both cause and effect and different colors, shapes, and sizes.
Interactive play is essential for your baby to start learning social skills. As they get older, you will have to teach them all of the rules of interacting with their peers: share your toys, don’t push or name-call, and play together. Starting to introduce them to collaborative play as an infant puts them in a better position to develop social skills than babies who are isolated. If you do not know any other infants, try joining a mother’s circle or going to the park a few times a week. Introducing the idea of playing together now will help your child a couple of years down the road when they are in preschool and kindergarten.
Sense of Safety
When you play with your child, you are reinforcing your bond every time. No matter how busy you are, it is important to take time out of your day to play with your child. This teaches them that they can rely on you to show up, deepening your bond and helping them feel safe in the world because of your consistency. Even if all you have time for is reading to them at the end of the day, this time teaches your child that they can rely on you, and that they are safe.
Playtime is very important, but when you don’t have playmats protecting your infant from the floors in your home, it can be hazardous. Protect your child from injury during playtime with our nontoxic, durable, 100 percent safe baby play mats from Softmats.