Parent-Child Play Across Different Cultures and Its Impact on Child Development

mother and daughter laughing together

Children, starting from when they are born to their toddler years, have one language in common worldwide—play. Play nurtures every child’s extraordinary potential that it’s considered a birthright for all children. From physical activities (such as jumping, running, dancing, and climbing) to symbolic ones (such as speaking, writing, singing), play has lasting effects that foster growth. Encouraging play will help build confidence, develop physical and social skills, and experience a set of abilities that they otherwise won’t get from strict play-times.

Nowadays, parents are taught the importance of parent-child play to empower their children from the beginning. This topic is covered in parenting classes and public speaking events where experienced speakers share their thoughts and tips. It is a far cry from the 1920s where parents were actively discouraged from playing with their children. After all, who’s the best fit to raise their child none other than their parents?

How Play Trounces Cultures

The differences in parent-child play between countries depend on the ethnic socialization norms in the country. A study has discovered that heritage and ethnic pride positively affected how parents treat their children and how much time they allocated playing with them. Furthermore, the influences of ethnic socialization only fully affect their specific ethnic group and only partially affects different ethnic groups. Thus, we can conclude that even though their parent-child play conventions are diverse, their respective practices affect their separate ethnic group.

In the same vein, the opportunities a country heavily influence parent-child play. Parenting practices differ in effectivity when economic and neighborhood factors come to the table to the child’s growth. However, it is improbable that the outside environment will fully affect the child’s development. Parents who love and support their children while nurturing their interests through play have a marginal effect on their maturation.

Why the Parent-Child Play is Important

Parents might be keen on letting their children play on their smartphones or let them watch TV shows in the living room, but the parent-child play is too vital to pass up. Although children can entertain themselves, parents should encourage their children to play with others also. After all, it’s natural for children to crave their parents’ and friends’ attention.

When parents play with their children, they set themselves up as an active role model that their children can look up to. Children love to emulate what their parents do; hence, playing with their children allows parents to educate their children.

Furthermore, parent-child play helps build bonding with their children. Even as adults, people love to spend time interacting with their friends and family. It’s the same for children. When children spend time playing with their parents, they learn to further trust their parents, thus improving parent-child relationships.

Parents may play with children through:

  • Physical play
  • Symbolic play
  • Play with objects
  • Pretend play
  • Games with rules

mom and child doing yoga together

Effects of Parent-Child Play in a Child’s Development

No matter the country, the effects of parent-child play is noticeable in growing children. Listed below are different ways it can have an impact on children:

Physical Play

  • Children with sufficient physical play get more exercise that contributes to positive health benefits.
  • Studies suggest a connection between physical play with academic progress, self-confidence, and self-directed control of their thoughts and beliefs.
  • Unstructured physical play contributes to improved attention and learning.

Symbolic Play

  • Language play enhances the children’s language development that might affect how they socialize with others.
  • Through high cognitive functioning, musical play can further hone a child’s communication skills.

Play with Objects

  • Researchers theorize that play with objects can develop children’s problem-solving and reasoning skills.
  • Children that often play with things can develop their language, math, and spatial skills further.
  • Play also helps how children create new ideas and experiment with objects in their surroundings.

Pretend Play

  • Pretend play can develop children’s reasoning skills, social skills, and care for others.
  • This can also develop children’s language, narrative skills, and emotion regulation.
  • Pretend play can also promote risk-taking for how children interact with the environment.

Games with Rules

  • Children playing board games with parents can improve their ability in mathematics.
  • Games with rules help children adapt to formal schooling.
  • Parents who employ games with directions to their children might have an easier time guiding their learning and studies.

Parent-child play is an activity that children will cherish when they grow up. Not only does it improve parent-child relationships, but play also helps their relationship grow stronger. Additionally, there are various developmental benefits that parent-child play has. However, parents should be keen on what their children are experiencing outside their household, as they’re not the only ones influencing their child’s growth.

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