The importance of playtime time for children

By Abisha Sooriyathas

Posted on January 17, 2022

Upon immigration, many newcomers may feel pressure to succeed in their new country. At times, this pressure can be intentionally or unintentionally passed onto their children.

Whether it’s through buying curriculum books for their kids or entering them into after-school study programs, many newcomers wish to instill a good work ethic into their children. This could be because they view education as a means of success in their new country.

kid on a slide

In this pursuit of academic success, newcomers may not place enough attention on playtime for their children. Moreover, they may not perceive play for what it is—a learning experience. An article by The Conversation cites a study that found that many Chinese parents believed that too much play is a waste of time for learning. As a result, these parents were likely to limit or discourage playtime in order to increase academic learning time.

How can playtime help children develop?

However, according to an article published by the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, children learn better when they are fueled by intrinsic motivations, such as play, rather than extrinsic motivations like test scores. The article also states that playing with parents and peers promotes emotional, cognitive, and self-regulation skills in children. These are all skills that enhance learning in both the social and academic sense.

Another study has shown that an appropriate amount of playtime can improve language and early math skills, such as numerosity and spatial concepts. In addition, playtime that involves physical activity has its own health-related benefits. This type of play promotes healthy weight, cardiovascular fitness, and the efficacy of the immune system.

The power of playtime for the children of newcomers

The power of playtime can be especially beneficial for the children of immigrants. Interacting with peers at school and after school can allow newcomer children to socialize with other Canadian-born children. This creates a space in which children can share aspects of their culture with each other. Through playtime, both newcomer children and Canadian-born children can learn and grow, creating an environment that fosters integration.

kids blocks

For these reasons, it is important that newcomers be reminded that playtime can be just as important as time spent learning and studying. In order to give your children the best possible chance at future success, it is important to give them a strong foundation to begin with. A strong foundation starts with taking their intellectual, physical, social, and emotional well-being into consideration to create a lifestyle that is healthy and balanced.

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