Lets talk about how play not only benefits kids, but how it also benefit adults too.
When it comes to the benefits of play in children, it has been extensively studied and researched. It is clearly understood that play in children plays a vital role in their development as they grow up, but what about the adults? There comes a point in time where play begins to take a backseat in life. Focus begins to shift from playing with our friends to meeting this week's deadlines with your coworkers. Play is not just essential for kids; it can be an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults as well. Playing with your romantic partner, friends, co-workers, pets, and children is a sure (and fun) way to fuel your imagination, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and emotional well-being.
The Benefits of Play
Play can add joy to life, relieve stress, supercharge learning, and connect you to others and the world around you. Play can also make work more productive and pleasurable. Play helps:
Relieve stress. Play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Improve brain function. Challenging the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function. The social interaction of playing with family and friends can also help ward off stress and depression.
Stimulate the mind and boost creativity. Not only young children often learn best when they are playing, adults do so as well. You’ll learn a new task better when it’s fun and you’re in a relaxed and playful mood. Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and solve problems.
Improve relationships and your connection to others. Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others. Play doesn’t have to include a specific activity; it can also be a state of mind. Developing a playful nature can help you loosen up in stressful situations, break the ice with strangers, make new friends, and form new business relationships.
Keep you feeling young and energetic. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Play can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you function at your best.
Play and Work
Success at work doesn’t depend on the amount of time you work; it depends upon the quality of your work. And the quality of your work is highly dependent on your well-being. Taking the time to replenish yourself through play is one of the best ways you can help your career. When the project you’re working on hits a serious halt, take some time out to play and have a few laughs. Taking a pause for play does a lot more than take your mind off the problem. When you play, you engage the creative side of your brain and silence your “inner editor,” that psychological barrier that censors your thoughts and ideas. This can often help you see the problem in a new light and think up fresh, creative solutions.
Playing with your children
While children need time to play alone and with other children, playing with their parents is also important. Here are some helpful tips to encourage play:
Establish regular play times. It may be for twenty minutes before dinner every night or every Saturday morning, for example. Remember, this time spent playing together is benefiting both of you.
Give your child your undivided attention. Turn off the TV and your cell phone and make time to play with your child without distraction. Having your undivided attention makes your child feel special.
Get down to your child’s level. That may mean getting down on your knees or sitting on the floor. Match your child’s intensity during play—if your child is loud and energetic, be loud and energetic, too.
Embrace repetition. It may be boring to you, but it’s not to your child. Children learn through repetition. Let your child play the same game over and over. Your child will move on when he or she is ready.
Let your children take the lead. Become part of their game rather than trying to dictate the play. In pretend play, let your child call the shots, make the rules, and determine the pace of play. Ask questions and follow along—you’ll likely get drawn into imaginative new worlds that are fun for you, too.
Don’t force play or try to prolong a game. The best way to teach a new skill is to show children how something works, then step back and give them a chance to try it. When your child grows tired of an activity, it’s time to move on to something new.
Make play age-appropriate and consider safety. If a game is too hard or too easy, it loses its sense of pleasure and fun. Help your child find age-appropriate activities and understand any safety rules for play. Nothing ruins a fun game faster than a child getting hurt.
Develop your Playful Side
It’s never too late to develop your playful side. If you find yourself limiting your playfulness, it’s possible that you’re self-conscious and concerned about how you’ll look and sound to others when attempting to be lighthearted. Adults often worry that being playful will get them labeled as childish. But what is so wrong with that? Children are incredibly creative, inventive and are constantly learning. Wouldn’t you want to be childish if that is the definition? Remember that as a child, you were naturally playful; you didn’t worry about the reactions of other people. You can reclaim your inner child by setting aside regular, quality playtime. The more you play, joke, and laugh—the easier it becomes. Try to clear your schedule for an afternoon or evening, for example, and then turn off your phone, TV, computer, and other devices. Give yourself permission to do whatever you want for the time you’ve been given. Be spontaneous, set aside your inhibitions and try something fun, something you haven’t done since you were a kid, perhaps. And enjoy the change of pace, enjoy being a kid again.