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Playing is key to your kid’s health, says American Academy of Paediatrics

Your kid's playschool teacher always says that playing is the key to your child's overall health, and a new report has completely agreed to it

Written by Sudhakar Jha |Published : August 22, 2018 11:58 AM IST

Play is a very important way for kids to hone their social and mental skills, fend off stress and build a healthy bond with parents. And to boost this claim, the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recently said that playing hones kids' social, emotional, language and thinking skills ones the next generation will need to compete in a world that requires collaboration and innovation.

"We're recommending that doctors write a prescription for play, because it's so important," said the report's lead author, Dr. Michael Yogman. He's an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a pediatrician in Cambridge, Mass.

"The benefits of play cannot really be overstated in terms of mitigating stress, improving academic skills and helping to build the safe, stable and nurturing relationships that buffer against toxic stress and build social-emotional resilience," Yogman added.

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The report, published in the journal Pediatrics has updated a 2007 clinical report with new research that underscored the importance of play.

One previous study had found that stress levels in 3-4-year-old kids who were nervous about starting preschool were twice as low among kids who spent 15 minutes playing than for those who simply listened to the teacher read a story.

Researchers also found that preschoolers who had the habit of creating troubles were better behaved when their teacher played with them regularly over the course of a year.

Unfortunately, numerous studies have shown that most kids play less than ever now. Between 1981 and 1997, children's playtime decreased by 25 per cent. And about 30 per cent of kindergarteners do not have recess time anymore.

A survey of nearly 9,000 U.S. preschool kids and parents found that just half of the kids went outside to play with a parent once a day. And add to it that nine out of 10 parents express safety concerns about their kids playing outdoors, and a typical preschooler watches 4.5 hours of TV every day, other surveys have found.

These are concerns that you need to take seriously and engage in more play time with your kid. Play with your kids as often as you can. Remember, a normal peek-a-boo is a game too!

Image source: Shutterstock

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