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PLAYING: The Truth about Child's Play

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The Truth about Child's Play

My kid loves to play! He jumps around, runs all over the place and never seems to get tired! How can I direct the energy of my little one towards safe and positive play? 

4 mins to read Aug 15, 2016

Ah, the joys and challenges of parenting! In our families, which are the heart of our culture, we especially cherish the early years of our child's life. As parents, exploring the big and challenging world of raising kids is both thrilling and a bit overwhelming. Today, let's dive deep into the essence of child's play and its monumental role in the holistic development of our little ones.


The Foundation of Early Development

Child's play isn't just play. It's the foundation of early childhood development, a critical period where every giggle, step, and word shapes your child's future. Experts—from pediatricians to child psychologists—emphasize that play is not merely a way to pass time. It plays a vital role in your child's brain and overall development.


Physical and Motor Skills: "Movement and Play"

From the simple joys of peek-a-boo to the traditional “habul-habulan”, Filipino children have been engaging in physical play that significantly boosts their gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills in a child's development refer to the abilities required to control the large muscles of the body for activities like walking, jumping, and running. On the other hand, fine motor skills involve the use of smaller muscles to perform precise tasks, such as picking up small objects, holding a pencil, and playing with a toy.

These activities not only improve coordination and balance, but also encourage healthy physical limits and body awareness. Remember, your living room or your kid’s play area can transform into an “obstacle course” for them, but it is a space where your little ones develop milestones like crawling, walking, jumping and so much more.


Cognitive and Mental Development: "Think and Solve"

Puzzles, block-building, and even the act of sorting pebbles in the backyard are not just pastimes but are crucial for cognitive skills and brain development. Such activities enhance problem-solving abilities, attention span, and imagination. Early exposure to these forms of play aids in infant brain development and sets the stage for successful early childhood education.


Emotional and Social Growth: "Feelings and Friends"

The Filipino tradition of close family ties and community support shines through in the way our children play. Cooperative games like "Bahay-bahayan" or even shared play in a play gym teach valuable social skills, such as empathy, cooperation, and respect for others. These interactions are crucial for developing emotional IQ, helping children understand their own feelings and those of others, preparing them to deal with people kindly and effectively as they grow.


Language and Speech: "Words and Stories"

From singing nursery rhymes like “Bahay Kubo” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep” to storytelling sessions under the mango tree, engaging in verbal play enriches language and speech development. These activities boost infant developmental milestones related to language, preparing them for a lifetime of communication.


Creativity and Problem Solving: "Create and Solve"

When children are given the freedom to explore, make-believe, or even get a little messy with paint, they're not just having fun—they're becoming critical thinkers. This type of play fosters creativity, self-expression, and the ability to solve problems creatively, crucial skills in any stage of life.


Embracing the Good, the Bad, and the In-Between

Parenting, much like child's play, involves highs and lows. Recognizing each child's uniqueness, with milestones reached at varying paces, is key. A supportive, loving environment that celebrates achievements and cushions setbacks fostering a child's confidence and resilience, boosting their emotional well-being, encouraging them to grow, learn, and embrace challenges positively.


Letting Them Fall to Learn How to Rise

Allowing your children to make mistakes, face challenges, and even experience failure is vital. These experiences teach resilience, self-confidence, and the ability to persevere—qualities that define a well-rounded, mature individual.


The Role of Parents: "Guide and Loving Companions"

As parents, our role is to guide, support, and sometimes, just watch from the sidelines. It's about finding the balance between protecting our children and giving them the freedom to explore. Your support and encouragement are their strongest foundation, building their self-esteem and confidence.


Conclusion: A Lifetime of Learning and Growing Together

Child's play is the cornerstone of child development, encompassing physical, emotional, cognitive, social, language, and speech development. As parents, embracing the value of play means providing our children with the tools they need to thrive in every aspect of life.

Remember, every "Tagu-taguan" hide-and-seek game, every "Bahay-bahayan”, and every story shared is a step toward raising confident, creative, and compassionate individuals. Let's cherish these moments, guide with love, and watch our children grow into the best versions of themselves.

In this journey of parenting, you're not alone. Together, we will carry on empowering each other to raise the next generation of Filipinos—ready to face the future with confidence and grace.