(Written by Robert Reeve) Children love to play with their toys. Most adults still remember and have fond memories of what their favourite toy was when they were young. Some even get nostalgic and perhaps a touch emotional whenever they encounter their former favourite plaything years later.
While children have fun creating their own games and playing with their toys, they don’t realise how this quality time will serve them well as they move through life. Again, many adults don’t really understand this, which is why millions of kids around the world sit in front of a games console or the television, at the direction of their parents, instead of playing with a toy.
We looked at the importance of toys for social and emotional development in children, and the specific skills they help hone.
- Relationship Building
It is difficult to look at a dress up doll or an action figure and think that it could one day help a child to form a relationship, but it does. The process of getting to know someone, what you like about them, and how you interact are all life skills that children develop through play.
To build on this, youngsters then begin to develop recognition of character traits that they like, the difference between good and bad, and even a sense of loyalty.
- Dealing With Tough Times
A broken toy is somewhat trivial when looked at next to the death of a friend or a family member; however learning to deal with these types of emotions at an early age will prove a great foundation for later in life.
In the eyes of a child, their favourite toy no longer working is akin to the end of the world, and learning to deal with this disappointment and move forward is a key attribute that will help them through a tragedy or an event such as leaving home for the first time.
- Making Choices
When it comes to playtime a child will often be presented with a choice between one toy or another. This is especially true should you be asking a child to choose something to take on holiday, for example.
Dealing with problems such as these allows a child to develop their thinking around decision making through applying logic as well as emotion to a situation. If you interact with your child while they are doing this, you can also help with their reasoning and communication skills as they explain why they have made a particular choice.
Playtime isn’t going to stop your child making their own mistakes as they grow older, but in their early years it will teach them the basics of valuable life skills that they will use forever.
This article was written by Robert Reeve who works for A Girl for All Time, an award-winning provider of dolls for girls, as well as novels and keepsake books that provide hours of activities and fun for the whole family.