“Play is a birthright”: The lifelong benefits of active play, according to a pediatrician

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Encouraging active play at an early age offers a host of benefits for your child's physical, emotional, psychological, and social development! Learn more about it, here.

More and more parents are seeing the wondrous benefits of fostering a child’s imagination through play, but it turns out there’s much more to it than we think.

We caught up with Dr. Joselyn Eusebio, a veteran pediatrician from University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERMMMC) to learn more about all of its benefits.

“Active play has a very important role in the overall or holistic development of a child because it contributes to the development of the child’s physical, cognitive, and that includes language as well as socioemotional development, specifically physical means that it will improve their gross motor skills,” she began, elucidating further on cognitive development as encompassing both language and learning.

Continuing, she told theAsianparent Philippines, “As for its socioemotional effects, it stimulates and improves a child’s interaction with people around him. At the same time, it enhances interpersonal as well as intrapersonal skills, meaning to say that he will be able to develop self-confidence, creativity, and so on.”

photo: dreamstime

There are different types of play, but the two major ones are structured and unstructured.

“During structured play, the environment where the child will play has rules and regulations. As for unstructured play, anything goes, like free play,” she explains.

If you’re a parent of child aged 2 years or below, it’s helpful to know that they normally engage in “parallel play, simply imitating what other people or other children in their environment are doing.”

“As for older kids, specifically those 3 to 7 years old, we usually engage them in a creative play,” shares Dr. Eusebio, explaining that creative play incites the imagination in the form of activities such as role playing. “Parents and children can describe a scenario, like playing house or acting like a parent to dolls, for instance.”

Active play encourages bonding between a parent and child

Not only does this encourage kids to exercise their imagination, it also strengthens the bond between parent and child.

“Because parents take an active role, engaging the child and participating,” she emphasizes. “Not just telling the child how to do certain things. If the parent participates in play, that will motivate the child more.”

Next page: Kids these days are glued to gadgets! How does this affect active play?

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