Today’s children live in a different world that their parents grew up in. With the expansion of the media, TV, the internet, technology advancement manifested in smart phones, tablets with touch screens and many other cool features, the children of today will learn differently than older generations. Being introduced all these new things from their early age, their knowledge of the world will differ from ours. This is why we have to adapt to their needs and show compassion towards them.
Play should include two things: it should be fun, and it should be something through which the child will learn. Speech development theories suggest that all children are born with the inborn capacity to acquire language (the so-called LAD – Language Acquisition Device, defined by Noam Chomsky), and it is from parents that they learn how language is used. The same applies to play. Through play the children learn from their parents how to get along with others in an easy-comprehensible way. They enhance their creativity and should eventually learn how to solve (complicated) problems. It is said that if children play in their early childhood, this will be the best foundation for their success later in school.
The first people children have contact with are usually the parents. It is from parents that they tend to learn the basics about the world. If play is presented to them as something fun (which it is), children will love it instantly. This makes the parents their first playmates, and gives them responsibility for numerous things. It is through play that children should be taught to interact, and if you yourself do not interact with them, they will not follow your lead either. You should show them how to observe and allow them to be creative, just like you should be – rediscover the inner child and forget about the grownup restrictions. Never forget to have fun too, because playtime is for everyone. And finally, do not underestimate their abilities, because soon you will discover that children are geniuses.
It is your responsibility to protect your child from unsafe toys. Even the most harmless-looking toy can cause an injury, so first you have to choose them properly, make a careful selection and supervise their use at all times. Always use age recommendations from the labels and look for safety measures and warnings. Avoid toys with easily-detachable small parts which can be swallowed. Avoid teething toys are bigger than your child’s mouth to avoid swallowing. Check if decorations and seams on stuffed toys are well-sewn and fastened securely to avoid being bitten off, swallowed or inhaled. Once the play stops, you should take the toys, clean them (to avoid spreading of germs, look for stuffed or cloth toys with the label saying “machine washable”), keep them maintained and store them in a toy box or some other place where your child cannot reach them. Safety must continue even after playtime is over.
“Play is child's work”
The world’s most famous pedagogue, Maria Montessori believes that play should be “voluntary, enjoyable, purposeful and spontaneous” and that the child will develop creativity via problem-solving, social, language and physical skills. According to her, play “helps expand on new ideas [and] to adapt socially [in order to] thwart emotional problems”. She thus finds toys the tools using which children work, learning about the world, about people and about themselves. This is why different kind of educational toys should be used in order for children to figure out how things work and use their imagination to solve problems. Toys can help them learn how to cooperate with other people and children, and animals, as well as to build their strength, muscle control and motor abilities.
Melissa is healthy lifestyle and environmentally friendly living enthusiast. She is interested in practical solutions for simpler and more convenient life, and she likes sharing them with others. Mother of one cute boy, proud owner of two Labradors and a cat, vegetarian and for years, and in her spare time she is engaged in crafting, organizing family life and travel.