Kids need playtime and when kids play, parents should not meddle with them, experts say. In this modern age, though, the idea of organized fun is becoming more prevalent with parents getting involved during a child’s playtime activities. But while it is beneficial to become part of it and promote learning in kids, a recent study shows that kids tend to become less engaged or develop negative emotions toward their parents when they take up too much role during their playtime activities. 7VWHGCBC5E75
Jean Ispa, the lead author of the study, a professor at the University of Missouri at Columbia focusing on human development and family studies, wanted to determine how parents can maintain fun during a kid’s playtime. As a parent and grandparent herself, she was particularly curious at the role that parents play when it comes to providing a fun and helpful play experience.
Ispa, together with her colleagues from the University of Missouri at Columbia, used pre-recorded videos to analyze the level of interaction between mothers and their kids within a playtime setup. The kids that were used for study were around the age of 1 to 5. This particular research study is part of the Early Head Start, which is a nationwide project designed to help low-income families develop a better understanding when it comes to the various levels of a child’s development during early years.
According to Ispa, playtime is crucial for kids because this is where they are “learning in all areas”. That means that they develop their cognitive, social, and emotional skills when children engage in play. Aside from enhancing their knowledge and creativity, the most important skill that is developed in kids when they play is their social interaction with other people. Ispa further adds, “to be useful, play should be fun.”
Going back to the study, Ispa focused on the role that directive mothers have on a child’s natural development in relation to play. There are a lot of kids that feel upset when mothers intervene during playtime. Ispa points out that the biggest mistake that mothers can make is to force things to their kids instead of allowing them to discover things on their own.
Hence, the study suggests that parents should allow their kids to explore on their own during playtime. Refrain from watching your kids like a hawk. Jean Ispa suggests a “happy medium” when it comes to managing playtime with your kids and your role in them as a parent. According to her, it is enough that you are there physically to watch over them. You do not have to be totally involved in the play experience; rather, just watch over them. If you see that your child is stuck in the same kind of play, you can suggest a new and higher level of play so they can learn something new along the way.
For those who consider themselves as “directive moms” when it comes to your child’s playtime, Jean Ispa has some advice for you: “trust the kids”. And most importantly, there should be a level of affection exhibited from mothers so that kids do not end up feeling like they are being controlled in the situation.