Why Play Is Important for Your Child
It’s important that your child uses positive play to ensure positive behaviors when they grow up.
You probably remember the excitement you felt as a young child when you first put on your very first costume or your very first ball game. You weren’t concerned about the hours you had to spend brushing your teeth to change your hair for the perfect outfit or what the prize might be.
You just wanted to be yourself.
You could wear whatever you wanted. Your clothes were designed for you. You didn’t care if they didn’t fit.
As an adult, you might find this activity to be very stressful, or you might fantasize about the clothes you had as a child.
But, did you ever give thought to what you did for the play or games that were important to you?
“You want to make sure you have positive stories for yourself to tell in the future? Play is a good way to do that,” says Stephanie Gregg, who has played tennis professionally for over 30 years and is the host of the newest series: Hustle After Dark, which will premiere on the CBS Network October 7, 2018.
In fact, if you want to ensure that you’ll be a happy and healthy person when you grow up, you may want to model how you play on how you’ll feel when you’re older, according to Gregg.
“For many people, when they’re younger, their self-esteem and confidence is built by which game they play. They think that good play will carry over to the real world, and they believe that you should be that person because that’s what you play. That’s the assumption that you should be that person, regardless of any other factors.”
But, the repercussions of that assumption may not always be in your favor. “When you see a child that is consistently playing good games, and has positive play stories that they’re working on, then it is important to encourage that kind of thing in your children because then you create a positive self-image. You build self-esteem in the young ones, and you build the resilience in them so that when they are older, they can learn to deal with whatever obstacles are going to come in their way.”
But, as we come to realize that play is important in all areas of our lives, particularly school, you won’t see kids playing sports or playing outdoors as much as you used to as they now play video games and generally spend more time indoors. “There are a lot of little kids who may not ever get to play outside, and that may have a big impact on their life as a child, because we can forget that play is important in a child’s life.”
And, as an adult who struggles with what is often called “childhood as resume building,” Gregg advocates for parents to “rebel against that.”
“They need to play because if they don’t, then they are not active, they are not focused, they are not successful. They are not making any money because if they aren’t paying attention to something, then they’re not working on it. They can’t achieve if they aren’t making progress.”
So, what can you do to encourage your children to play?
“Get them to throw a baseball or baseball bat or tennis ball, to do some other kind of sport, like rugby or soccer. Go outside. Make sure that when they go to school, that they’re not walking by the fence and peering into the mirror. Go around the building and talk to your children while they’re at school. Have them sit on the grass and play. Make sure that when they are playing outside, that they’re not being inside all the time.”
View Article: “Childhood As ‘Resume Building’: Why Play Needs A Comeback”
All Images: Jack Nazarko, Shutterstock