Summer is here and is a great time to unleash the power of play with your children! Play is essential for child development and is an important way that children learn. There are many benefits of play such as gathering knowledge, social-emotional development, patience, problem-solving, reasoning skills, spatial awareness. Play provides children with the opportunity to challenge their beliefs about the world. Children need to play with trusted adults to build skills at every age so they can be ready to try those skills on the world.
Fun Facts About Play!
– Play is an important way that children and adolescents learn skills and cooperation and get exercise at every age.
– Adding play to your day will help you build stronger relationships with your children and will help everyone be healthier.
– Play can be as short as 15-30 minutes and can include board games, cooking, building, swinging, going to the park, playing dress up, coloring/drawing, reading, dancing, singing and sports.
– When you let your child be the leader of the play it helps you learn their interests and helps your child’s confidence and engagement.
A child may feel proud of their tall block tower and disappointed when the tower falls over. Play allows children to express their emotions and eventually regulate them. When disappointment happens, you can watch your child contemplate giving up, asking for help, or starting over. Through play, children can practice decision-making and learn how to tackle problems independently. Play connects children with their environment and imagination.
Benefits of playing with your children:
Play Makes Kids Stronger, Smarter, and Builds Relationships with Family
Play Helps Kids Solve Problems.
Play Boosts Creativity.
Play Reduces Stress.
Play Helps Kids Make Friends.
Play Builds Resilience.
Play That Is Active and Involves Rhythm Like Dance, Drumming, and Singing Helps Children(and Parents) Regulate Emotions
Swimming is another fun way to play, stay cool, and get some exercise this summer. It is important to follow safety procedures when around water though, because drowning is the single leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4, and it’s one of the top causes of death for teens.
American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP) Recommends the following hints to keep your family safe around water:
- All children and adults should learn to swim.
-Water survival skills training and swim lessons can help reduce drowning risk for children between ages 1-4. Classes that include parents and their children also are a good way to introduce good water safety habits and start building swim readiness skills. AAP doesn’t currently recommend infant swim class due to lack of proven benefit.
-By their 4th birthday, most children are ready for swim lessons. At this age, they usually can learn basic water survival skills such as floating, treading water and getting to an exit point. By age 5 or 6, most children in swim lessons can master the front crawl. If your child hasn’t already started in a learn-to-swim program, now is the time!
- SUPERVISION IS Crucial!!! – Especially during parties or picnics at the pool or lake, when it’s easy to get distracted. It is important to assign a “water watcher” whose job is to constantly keep eyes on the child in or near the water. Take turns, passing along a water watcher card to the next responsible adult after a set time (such as 15 minutes).
- Around the house, empty all buckets, bathtubs and wading pools immediately after use. If you have young children, keep the bathroom door closed, and use toilet locks to prevent access.
- Pools should be surrounded by a four-sided fence, with a self-closing and self-latching gate. Research shows pool fencing can reduce drowning risk by 50%. Additional barriers can include door locks, window locks, pool covers and pool alarms.
- Young children are at highest risk of drowning in a pool, while adolescents are at increased risk when swimming in natural bodies of water.
- Keep your adolescent safe by making sure they enter any natural body of water feet first the first time, stay on beaches with lifeguards, never swim alone and avoid swimming when riptides or strong currents are present.
There are so many fun ways to connect with your family over the summer. Keep these tips in mind to help your family stay happy, safe, connected, and learning over the summer!