7 Tips for Healthy Play

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7 Tips for Healthy Play

Sirsa Qursha

Sirsa A. Qursha’s background is in Child Development & Parent Education. Sirsa has over 10 years of experience in directly working with children and families; notably in the Child Protection sector while working with the Jordan River Foundation and most recently offering child development and parenting consultations through a private practice in Amman, Jordan. In addition to her direct work with families, Sirsa has extensive experience in the development, implementation and management of child/family-centered programs.As part of her work with the Jordan River Foundation, Sirsa has also co wrote and published a chapter on children’s rights in Making Equal Rights Real: Taking Effective Action to Overcome Global Challenges (Cambrdige University Press).
Sirsa is a Qualitative Research Mentor and Trainer in the focus group methodology and has been responsible for conducting focus groups with adults and children as well as training and mentoring civil society personnel on the focus group methodology.
Sirsa received her BSc. in Child Development & Family Studies and a MA in Parent Education, both from the University of Connecticut.
She is also certified in the Kazdin Parent Management Training from the Yale Parenting Center (of Yale University).

website: www.sirsaqursha.com
Facebook/sirsaqursha-Child Development & Parenting Specialist
Twitter: @sirsaqursha
LinkedIn: https://jo.linkedin.com/in/sirsa-qursha-19b41a11
7 Tips for Healthy Play

Below are 7 tips for fun and healthy play. This is only a starting point, so feel free to share your own tips in the comment box below!

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1. Make it a daily habit. Every day, allow your child to choose what or how she wants to play.

2. Follow your child’s lead. Let her direct and inform play time, changing activities or imagination land as she cues.

3. Be spontaneous and have fun! This is important to create happy memories with your child.

4. Join in on play time! Not only does this promote your child’s learning, but it also helps establish a precious bond between her and mama and encourages self-esteem.

5. Provide support. Maybe your child can’t reach something or is feeling frustrated operating a certain toy. Offer a helping hand while using your voice to calm her, saying, “You look frustrated when you can’t turn that on. Can I help you?”

6. Offer challenges when you see your child is ready. For example, move an object farther away from baby when she is first learning to crawl. Encourage her to expand her horizons at every age.

7. Don’t focus on purchasing the latest doll or gadget! Simple toys stimulate brain development and spark your child’s imagination.

Playing with babies and toddlers can look different than playing with older kids who are much more independent and better able to communicate their experiences. Check out our play considerations for the first 3 years of life:

* Remember, safety comes first. Be sure toys don’t have small parts that fit all the way into baby’s mouth. Also, be cognizant of sharp edges and coarse textures.

* If baby turns away from you or something you’ve been playing with, it means she needs a little break. She might be a tad over-stimulated and need a change of scenery.

* Observe what your baby is capable of doing. If baby is starting to crawl and reach for objects, let her reach out and attempt to bring the toy closer to herself.

* Monitor and limit screen time. Not only are screens a passive activity, but studies show having the TV on in the background actually interrupts your child’s active play time and hinders learning.

The chart below offers more details on the different stages of play over the course of the first 3 years of life.

What I can do

I play using my mouth! I’ll put things in my mouth to explore and learn. I also use many of my senses. I use my body to learn how to reach and grasp. I learn my actions cause a reaction- so if I push a button my toy makes music! I am also learning things out of my sight still exist. So if you hide my blue ball behind the couch,I’ll start to learn to look for it.

I am now on the move, and boy is there so much to play with! I use my fingers and hands to explore. I like lots of action and love to play with sand and water. I also love sorting shapes. Sometimes I can get frustrated, so it’s okay to help me out from time to time. I also start using things around the house and imitating you. I may even pick up a broom and sweep up the mess!

I’m more sociable now. I love playing with other kids my age. I’ll use objects with more imagination. So the broom I used last year will now become my scarecrow! I love to pretend and be more creative with my play.

* What your child is interested in. This is important for bonding.Parents often forget their children’s play impacts them, as well. Your child’s play offers significant insight into your little one’s world. More specifically, her playtimes help you understand:

* Your child’s emotional state. Children express much of what they are feeling through play. For example, if you have recently welcomed a new baby into your family, watch for aggressive play. Your older child might be asking for more attention.

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* How you can communicate with your child.

* How your child reacts to challenges and failures.

* Your child’s learning style. Play lets you assess whether your child is a visual, auditory, or sensory learner.

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