It seems simple doesn’t it? - but according to Sydney Local Health District’s child and family health experts, that little four letter word is one of the most important things you’ll do with your kids.
“Play and natural activity are essential to the health, development and wellbeing of children, says Sydney Local Health District Child and Family Health Occupational Therapist, Natasha Rogers.
“Play contributes to a child’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development,” Ms Rogers says.
“It’s so important for your children to get in play time.”
As part of their natural developmental stages, play is how kids learn about and interact with their world.
“It allows them to develop strength, co-ordination and dexterity.
“It also helps kids to problem solve and learn social skills such as sharing, compromising and conflict resolution,” she says.
It also is essential to early communication development.
“Play is everything your baby does when they are awake. Children learn about their world through exploring,” says Sydney Local Health District Chief Executive, Dr Teresa Anderson.
“Play is not just a special time to sit down with toys,” she says.
Dr Anderson is a Speech Pathologist and the author of one of our special early childhood programs, ‘Learning to Communicate’.
She says babies begin to learn about their world from the time they are born.
“The things we do every day give us the best opportunities to play with our babies,” Dr Anderson says.
“Like changing nappies, you’ll be changing thousands of nappies – so why not make the most of the time spent together!”
“Nappy changes provide so many opportunities to talk with your baby, sing songs, play games and even get your baby to follow rattles with their eyes or reach for objects,” Dr Anderson says.
As adults we often forget that there are so many opportunities to explore at home, in our back yards or local parks, says Natasha Rogers.
“What about incorporating play into everyday routines? It’s a good way for younger children to start practising the skills they’ll need later in life.
“Toddlers and pre-schoolers love sorting, so you could get them to put away forks and spoons.