Children learn about physical fitness and health in school, beginning at an early age. But there is another essential aspect of children’s life that influences and impacts their mental health development as well. Playtime.
Psychiatrist Stuart Brown author of ‘Play’ says “It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.”
Believe it or not, but playtime is more important than we think. It familiarizes children with who they are while they explore, talk with friends, learn coordination, encourages creativity, and social and emotional stability. All of which impacts their mental health, so they experience fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is a natural stress reliever and an emotional outlet. When I think back, a lot of my happiest memories as a kid was playing tag, riding my bike and playing with my friends.
It encourages independence in children because they are making their own decisions, trying new ideas, and making choices and experiencing what comes from them. This independence can happen with both group and alone playtime; group playtime can help them prepare for other social interactions and situations, while alone playtime they can learn by observing. Allowing them to make their own decisions it gives them the ability to express themselves as a developing person.
Regular play helps kids develop mindfulness. If you think back to your childhood and when you were playing with your friends, did you think about what would happen in the future or past? No, you were so focused on what you were doing, ignoring the concept of time.
This is something we all could use more in our life, time to be carefree and have childlike moments.
Until next time,