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A Mother’s Journey: Playtime and social development

By Ana Niculae March 05, 2021

How playtime helps with the development of social skills of children 


In a child’s development, toys are very important and mostly cannot be missed. Toys are an interactive way for children to develop their social skills, whether this is through an interaction with their friends or close family. In this article we are going to dive deeper into playtime and its relation to social development. 


The obvious way one can look at a child’s social development is through playtime, when children play with the other children. Social development can lead into many different ways. One of the social skills I will be writing about today is sharing. Research has shown that children in a bigger family who have siblings are more likely to share their toys with others or try to involve everyone, unlike kids who are an only child. For them it might be harder to share, simply because they do not know how to or have never learned this. However, in the end sharing is a very important social skill learned by everyone. How the children will pick it up and use this skill is up to them of course.

 

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Another way of seeing the development of social skills is through the relationship between child and parents. Children of course like to play with other children. However, another big influence in children’s life are the parents. Behaviour, physical and non-physical responses can have a big impact on the child and this depends on how the parents behave as they are being watched by their children.

One of the factors that can influence social development is the family bond. Study has shown that a good relationship with both parents or either one of them leads to having good social skills. This is due to the fact that the mother or father spends time with the child, cares for the child and thus bringing positivity into the child’s life. Associating positivity with playing with toys has a very important impact on the child. This can often be neglected due to the fact that parents do not think that playtime with the parents is important. Thus, during playtime it is essential to recognize how your child is reacting to your emotions as well. This theory can also be turned around. When a child has a bad relationship with either one of the parents, or both, this can result in bad social skills. Neglecting your child during playtime can be associated with negative feelings for the child and later on can develop in bad social skills. Another side of having a bad or negative association with playtime with your parents is that in the long-run, social skills can turn out to be very anti-social. In this aspect, it can turn out to be anxiety, depression, and perhaps other mental illnesses. Of course, this is a very broad spectrum, thus, it depends on the child’s inner character as well.

The dynamic between the parents has an important impact on the child’s social development as well. It has been proven that a good dynamic between the parents has a positive influence on the child as well. This dynamic between the parents, can also even be a co-parenting dynamic. As long as the child senses positive emotions between the parents, the outcome of the child’s social development will be pleasant. 

In conclusion, there are many factors playing when it comes to the influence of the social development of a child. One of these factors include playing with other children. Children learn a lot from each other by playing together. However, the dynamic between family members is of equal importance. Therefore, it is of great significance to play with your child as well. 

 

Sources:

Measuring the effects of toys on the problem-solving, creative and social behaviours of preschool children by Jeffrey Trawick-Smith, Heather Russel and Sudha Swaminathan

Social Interactions and Play Patterns of Parents and Toddlers with Feminine, Masculine, and Neutral Toys by Yvonne M. Caldera, Aletha C. Huston and Marion O’Brien

Child’s play with adults, toys, and peers: An examination of family and child-care influences by Howes C. and Stewart P. 

Parental toy play and toddlers’ socio-emotional development: The moderating role of of coparenting dynamics by Angana Nandy, Elizabeth Nixon and Jean Quigley 




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