It's the June holidays! And if you are a parent, you are probably thinking of how to plan out your child’s holiday timetable. Other than catching up with schoolwork, it is also important to factor in time for your child to engage in play during the holidays because ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’.
Play constitutes a wide range of recreational activities from make believe play and running around the playground, to more structured activities like board games and sports.
All these activities benefit the children in many ways, including:
Fostering creativity: Activities like playing pretend and completing puzzles help to foster children’s imagination and problem-solving skills. This is important because creativity is becoming one of the most valuable traits today as the world’s problems become more complex.
Keeping fit: The percentage of overweight students in Singapore had increased from 13 per cent in 2017 to 16 per cent in 2021 . With the prevalence of technology, children are finding more joy in sedentary activities such as playing computer games, scrolling through social media, and watching videos. Hence, help your child to stay healthy and active by encouraging them to participate in outdoor activities.
Improving mental health: Play is not just valuable to the development of young children, but its benefits are reaped when they grow older as well. Researchers have observed a causal link between the drop in children's opportunities to play and a rise in mental health issues among youths . Having fun through play helps to relieve stress and manage emotions which is especially important with the rise in mental health issues in youths today.
So, how can you encourage your child to play? Here are several tips that you can consider.
Help them explore a range of activities: Provide opportunities for your child to take part in a wide range of activities so that they can discover their interests and be more inclined to take part in them regularly. For younger children, you can provide them with objects that can be played in multiple ways, such as cardboard, balls, blocks and dolls. This encourages them to engage in free and unstructured play.
Set limits to their screen time: Limit the time they spend on their mobile phones or computers to discourage them from living a sedentary lifestyle. While your child might get bored due to the lack of screen time, boredom is a good thing as it encourages them to exercise their creativity to think of things, they can do to have fun or keep themselves meaningfully occupied .
Set up play dates: The more the merrier – invite your neighbour’s children or your child’s friends to gather for a time of fun games or activities! Group play allows your child to widen their social circle and develop their social skills too.
Model the way: Take part in activities and have fun yourself! Show your child that one is never too old to play. Having fun together is also a way to make memories and strengthen family bonds.
This June holiday, remember to have fun and de-stress together as a family!
TOUCH Parenting aims to strengthen parent-child relationships by providing parents with relevant parenting resources through every stage of their parenting journey. It conducts informative talks and workshops which empower parents with knowledge on preparing for and raising a new-born, navigating the digital age with their child, parent-child communication, and nurturing resilient children and youths. It is also appointed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development as the Parent Support Provider (PSP) for Primary and Secondary schools in Singapore.
1. “Annual prevalence of obesity for children aged below 18 over past five years, their profile and assessed effectiveness of preventive measures.” Ministry of Health Singapore, 14 February 2022, https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/annual-prevalence-of-obesity-for-children-aged-below-18-over-past-five-years-their-profile-and-assessed-effectiveness-of-preventive-measures/#:~:text=From%202017%20to%202021%2C%20the,from%2013%25%20to%2016%25.
2. Gray, Peter. “The Decline of Play and the Rise of Psychopathology in Children and Adolescents.” American Journal of Play, January 2011, https://time.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/3-4-article-gray-decline-of-play.pdf.
3. Miller, Gia. “The benefits of boredom.” Child Mind Institute, 20 July 2022, https://childmind.org/article/the-benefits-of-boredom/.