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How Play helps in Child’s Brain Development: Learning Through Play!


Child’s Brain Development: Learning Through Play!
Child’s Brain Development: Learning Through Play!

As a parent, the most important concern you'll be having is how you can make your child learn through play. Playing plays an important and inevitable role in the child's brain development in the initial stages of childhood. Play helps in developing creativity, mental strength, critical thinking, and problem-solving.


According to neuroscientists and researchers, learning through play helps in developing holistic skills including cognitive processing, fostering speech development, self-awareness, and self-regulation.


You also want to make your child perform better by helping him/her in becoming a shiny star. We understand your concern and that's why we are here at your service to provide you with several verified ways of learning through play. So, let's dive into these without any further ado!



How Play Helps in Child’s Brain Development


Play is the brain's favourite way of learning! Fred Rodger, the creator of the famous children's television series 'Mister Rodgers' Neighbourhood' stated,


“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning, but for children, play is serious learning. Play is the work of childhood."

Studies have shown that mindful playing helps children develop various skills while growing. Dianna Fryer, a child development specialist explains, “There are five critical domains in a child’s development'.


These are:


Mindful playing enables children to develop both mentally and physically. Your child will be learning in a productive, fun, and easy way. A child’s brain starts developing these skills at a very young age, gradually getting a hold of them while they grow. From an infant to the age of 5, 90% of a child's brain becomes completely developed.


Therefore, parents need to understand these skills and provide children with a suitable environment that will help them grow efficiently and timely. This should be done profoundly and affectionately.


1. Cognitive Development


Cognition refers to, “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge through thought, experience, and the senses."


Cognitive play is an important part of developing a child’s mental abilities as well as expanding their horizons of understanding. This type of play also measures a child’s ability to think critically and comprehend what they are taught.


brain development through play
A Baby girl with a Tennis

How does Play help in Cognitive Development?


You can ensure your child's brain cognitive development by providing your child with activities like:

  • Puzzles: Solving puzzles of varying difficulties helps with understanding the concept of ‘taller’ and ‘shorter’.

  • Memory games like picture bingo, what’s missing? Drawing on my back and so on.

  • Sorting games that help in differentiating between shapes and characters.

  • Language games of various types such as describing, explaining, and distinguishing by hearing. ‘Zingo, bingo with a zing’ is a popular board game for early readers and pre-readers.

  • Board games like Snakes and Ladders and Scrabble.

  • Brain teasers and riddles.

These games are tools that allow your child to develop cognitive skills appealingly and interestingly.


2. Social And Emotional Development


As the name suggests, it means the development of a child’s mental health. Children’s social and emotional development depends on what a child experiences in their childhood. It is critical to understand this stage with a child's surroundings and social interactions in mind.


If a child undergoes any sort of mental trauma, verbal abuse, or neglect from parents/guardians and caregivers, it can lead to prolonged periods of stress. Facing threatening situations can have damaging effects on brain development and disrupt the growth of other body parts as well.


Therefore, it is highly stressed that parents pay extra attention to their child’s behaviour while meeting other people. This includes family members, teachers, or strangers. Although it is often expected that children will express their feelings to their parents, it is more common for some children to stay quiet about uncomfortable interactions.


Accompanying your child while out and about, arranging parties with their friends to get to know them well, and keeping an eye on your kid while meeting relatives can help prevent unexpected tragedies.


child with large teddy bear sad
Child With Large Teddy Bear

How Childhood Trauma Affects Social And Emotional Development?


An alarmingly vast majority of children suffer from at least one traumatic event during their childhood. Most experience trauma before they reach the age of 16.


According to NorthBound Treatment,683,000 Children Were Neglect and Abuse Victims in 2015, and Two-Thirds of Children Will Report At Least One Traumatic Event. “


In the situation where problems arise in your family, or your child experiences or witnesses a traumatic moment or death, don’t sweep it under the rug. Do not entertain the notion that your child will recover from trauma themselves, even if it was a small issue for you.


Untreated trauma can grow and cause severe problems. Many adults face depression and illnesses such as PTSD from a trauma they barely remember. Even toddlers can be impacted by trauma. Therefore, make sure to discuss problems with your child and help them move forward. It will help raise them as mindful and mentally strong kids.


However, don't let this fear make you overprotective and controlling. To ensure your child’s healthy mental growth, plan, and progress according to your child’s comfort.


For instance, don’t force or restrict them to do things like befriending others. Let your child do things at their own pace.


You can help by:

  • Arrange different sports activities outside of the house and encourage your child to cooperate with other kids in the playground.

  • Going on picnics with friends and family, and sharing meals can create feelings of care and generosity.

  • Taking part in plays, singing competitions, and other sports can help build confidence in your child.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to keep a check and balance between over-protecting and exposing your child to build new relationships.



3. Speech And Language Development


develop child mind through play
A Baby Boy standing next to a Desk

A baby starts babbling syllables and imitates tones and speech sounds around the age of 6 to 9 months. Their first words usually appear around the age of 12 months. Children between the ages of one and a half to two years old begin putting words together, and some even form tiny sentences.


Children normally begin to speak coherently around the age of three and onwards and can form sentences well and convey their points better. Parents should be patient and not kill a child's habit of repetitively describing new things that they learn. Avoid shutting down every why? question, this is also a form of neglect and can impact their learning.


Some children do experience problems while developing this skill due to various factors like:

  • Weak or impaired hearing.

  • Abnormal vocal cords.

  • Bilingualism.

  • Feelings of insecurity.

  • Children are raised only by servants and nannies.

  • Excessive shyness.

  • Neglect shown by parents towards their children due to excessive work or other reasons.


Prevention And Cure

  • Make sure that your child’s hearing abilities are normal, and consult an ear specialist (otolaryngologist).

  • Talk to your child using clear enunciation of words (avoid baby talk).

  • The technique of repetition: repeating short sentences and phrases.

  • Don’t impatiently cut your child off when they try to express their feelings through broken words and sentences.

  • Get close enough so that your child can see the movement of your lips while communicating with them.

  • The vocabulary that you use while communicating with your child should refer to tangible things in your surroundings.

  • Do not force them to talk, this can impose the opposite effect.

  • Do not show your frustration because of their delayed speech, this will make matters worse.

  • Do consult your doctor if the child’s delay in speech persists over the age of two years.


Stuttering


Stuttering is a childhood on-set fluency disorder. Stuttering is common among children between the ages of two and four. Children who stutter face difficulty in conveying their speech fluently and frequently.


You can help your child overcome it at an early age by implementing a program at home. Stuttering will have adverse effects on your child’s psychology and yours too if it isn't dealt with.


Causes

  • Defective ears causing hearing problems can lead to stuttering.

  • Strokes or severe brain injury.

  • Extreme shyness, fear, or introversion.

  • Tension or anxiety.

  • Parental maltreatment of any kind, physical or psychological.

  • Forcing a child to speak before it’s time for it.


Prevention and Cure

  • Watch out for people who mock your child because of their stuttering. It will lower your child's confidence.

  • Speak slowly and with clear pronunciation to your child.

  • Please encourage your child to speak in front of others when they are ready and confident. Start with small children, then in front of older children and adults.

  • Do not interrupt or cut off your child when they are speaking.

  • If this problem continues, consult a speech pathologist to determine any other causes behind your child's stuttering, this will help you find a better solution.



4. Fine Motor Skills Development


Fine motor skills refer to the development of small muscles and their coordination and movement. This includes the hands, fingers, thumbs, and wrists. This includes hand-eye coordination and how well they synchronize with the eyes. These muscles grow and develop throughout childhood but including playful activities enhances this process.


children playing with blocks
Children Playing With Blocks

How does Play help in Developing Fine Motor Skills?


To help your child build fine motor skills you can start teaching them:

  • How to hold a pencil.

  • Tracing, writing, and colouring.

  • Toilet use, combing hair, brushing teeth, changing clothes.

  • Investing in toys like building blocks, and legos, (can also promote scientific thinking such as comparing, predicting, analyzing, and observing the concept of balance, differences, and similarities in shapes and sizes).

  • While dressing up, let them button up their shirt or zip their coat.

  • Children feeding themselves might give you an extra chore but it’ll help your child build a new skill.



5. Gross Motor Skills Development


Gross motor skills refer to the development of larger muscles such as arms, legs, and other body parts. Their coordination and collaboration help children develop these gross motor skills. Keeping your child safe and preventing injuries while developing these skills is pivotal to their growth.


Gross motor skills involve:

  • Walking

  • Climbing

  • Jumping

  • Running


How does Play help in developing Gross Motor Skills?


The following games help in gross motor skills development:

  • Play games like catch with children.

  • Take them to the park where they can swing, hang on chin-up bars, play in the jungle gym, and so on.

  • Let them kick footballs and run around aiming for the goal.

  • Climbing up trees and ladders.

  • Lifting stuff (helping in clearing the coffee table).


Infographic: How Play Helps in Child's Brain Development
Infographic: How Play Helps in Child's Brain Development

Takeaway


The fundamental stages of a child's growth and development happen during childhood. The major developments are cognitive, social, emotional, speech, and language. These are directly related to a child's fine and gross motor skills like hand-eye coordination and physical activity.


The easiest way to help your child's development is through mindful play and action. It is also important to pay attention to your child's physical and emotional well-being to allow them to grow properly. Any damage that happens to a child during childhood can stump growth and have long-lasting effects. Therefore, parents need to understand these skills and provide children with a suitable and nurturing environment that will help them grow.

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