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  • How to Become the Best First Playmate for Your Child! 7 Tips for Playtime

    Play is a great opportunity for children to learn and explore.
    by Kate Borbon .
How to Become the Best First Playmate for Your Child! 7 Tips for Playtime
PHOTO BY Pexels.com
  • There is no denying the benefits that play time poses for our children. Aside from being an invaluable opportunity for them to learn and develop their different skills, play also helps foster different values in kids and serves as a chance for moms and dads to establish a healthy relationship.

    Here are some things you can do to become the best first playmate for your child

    You are your child's first playmate, so don’t underestimate what you can do to make sure your little one reaps the various benefits of playtime.

    1. Let your child take the lead during playtime.

    Healthy Children writes it is through playing that toddlers explore and learn about the world surrounding them. One simple way to do so is by allowing your little one to take the lead. You can give her a toy, then look at what she does with it. Let your child show you a new way to play with that item, even though it may not necessarily be how that toy is typically used. Or let her play with objects that are not toys. You know how they're always intersted in Tupperware covers than what is in the container? Let them play with it as long as you know it is safe.

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    Though it helps to follow your child's lead when it comes to play time, there may also be some instances when she might feel frustrated because she doesn’t know what to do with an object. This may therefore require you to demonstrate how to use that object. After explaining, encourage her to try playing with it by herself.

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    2. Provide a safe play space.

    Take a look at her play space. Aside from making sure it is safe and secure, take into consideration whether the size is sufficient enough for the activities your child is interested in. For example, if your little one enjoys running around and throwing balls back and forth, is the space big enough to allow her to do those activities?

    3. Repeat and repeat.

    Demonstrating a certain action or game over and over again may not be fun for you, but it has numerous benefits for your child’s learning. Nemours Reading BrightStart! writes that “repetition provides the practice that children need to master new skills. Repetition helps to improve speed, increases confidence, and strengthens the connection in the brain that help children learn.” Repetition gives kids the chance to master a certain skill, and eventually, when they can do it by themselves, they receive a sense of competency and confidence in themselves.

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    4. Be observant

    As much as kids love to play, sometimes they may not always enjoy the activities they’re doing or the toys they are given. Young children may not yet be able to articulate themselves yet, so try to pay attention to non-verbal cues they may use to express certain emotions, such as changes in facial expressions, hand movements, sounds, and gestures. Aside from saving you from possible tantrums, these signals will also help you become more aware of your child’s preferences and when the right time to shift to a different activity or toy is.

    5. Adapt to your child’s interests and needs

    Based on the cues your child is giving you, what do you think are the games she enjoys playing, and the ones she doesn’t? Similarly, which toys do you think she likes, and which ones do you think she doesn’t? Let those inferences guide you.

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    This tip is especially important if your child has special needs, not only when coming up with the most appropriate toys and activities for her, but also when creating the play environment for her. For example, consider how she reacts to different kinds of stimuli like sound or light and even the presence of other kids. If you observe that she seems to get easily distressed when those variables are present, it might be more helpful for her to move to a less stimulating area.

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    6. Be involved

    Playtime can also be valuable quality time between you and your little one, since it is important to be present when your child is playing. You can start by playing on the floor, which will allow you to establish eye contact with her. Provide simple narrations of what you are demonstrating and even of what she is doing by herself without trying to correct or change it. Don’t forget to also encourage her with positive responses every now and then. The goal is to show your little one that you are involved and sharing in the experience.

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    7. Find opportunities for her to socialize

    Whether it’s a planned playdate with your friends’ children or chance encounters with kids in parks and playgrounds, try to encourage your little one to interact with other children when playing. One important benefit that kids get from playing with their peers is it prepares them for the time when they eventually have to go to school, where they will have to spend lots of time with other kids. Children are able to learn to be comfortable with others, even without the presence of their parents.

    So, don’t hesitate to set up that playdate — your child has a lot to gain from it!

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