A parent-child educator talks about the importance of children’s playtime

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Keeping your kid occupied is not only important for parents trying to get a moment of reprieve, but it’s also essential for children, too. In this week’s episode of In The Know: Milestones, parent-child educator and play expert Jennie Monness sheds light on the benefits of playtime for children. 

Monness explains that playtime for children is much more than entertainment. In fact, it’s a way for them to better understand the world around them. As parents, you can use playtime as a way to build up a relationship with your children, particularly for those who don’t have a natural knack for engaging with little ones.

“It’s sort of like ‘they can’t speak, so how do I spend time with them?’ before you’re a parent especially, or before you’ve worked with children the way I have,” Monness says. “Play can be this vehicle in order to bond with them.“

While playtime can be a great time to understand your child better, independent play is also super important. That’s where toys come in. Monness says that when it comes to the amount of toys you offer up for your child to play with, “less is more, but even less than less.“ Monness adds that busier toys are easy for babies to dismiss faster. However, when you pick out more abstract toys, it opens up a world of discovery for your little one. The Janod Mirror Box and the Lakeshore Hide & Seek Discovery Ball are two toys that Monness recommends.

Janod Mirror Box, $41.99

Credit: Amazon

This mirror box features two different sides of mirrors as well as three colorful magnetic microscopes.

Hide & Seek Discovery Ball, $29.99

Credit: Lakeshore

This hide-and-seek discovery ball is big, but light enough for your little one to enjoy.

With either of the toys above, your child can begin to explore, question and make connections with their environment. “[Play time] is not only a tool for your child to learn, but it’s a tool for you to breathe, honestly,” Monness states, “and that’s part of healthy emotional development.”

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