Children love to play. As parents we all know that part of the job of being a child, and a big part of childhood, is playing. For most parents though we wonder what are we supposed to do with our babies? How do you play with a baby and is it really important when they are little?
What can a child learn from playing with a rattle or a snuggly toy, cars or blocks, Lego or dolls? Well, even from simple games babies and children can learn a lot actually. Play teaches an understanding of the actions, feelings, intentions, beliefs and wants of others. This understanding is the basis of forming relationships, understanding themselves and how they function within a society.
From as young as two months old babies will be able to engage in intricate, mutual and emotionally regulated play with a care giver. Play is the way babies and children learn the dance of social communication. Play evolves as babies and children grow, learn emotional regulation and develop their motor skills.
But if you’ve got a baby and you’re wondering what you should actually do with them please remember, you’re not alone. For many parents “playing” doesn’t feel like it always comes naturally. Why is that? Well, perhaps that’s because while babies and children love to play, most parents are adults. Play doesn’t come so easily to adults, and that’s ok. Be curious about your child, watch them, let them take the lead, they will show you how to play. Sometimes our babies can be our teachers too.
Child and Family Health Nurse