Next time you reach for your toddler’s toys at playtime, you may want step away and let your little one learn and explore by themselves.
Parents who get too involved in directing play with their tot may actually be harming their child’s development rather than boosting it, according to an expert.
In a study led by Dr Whitebread, senior lecturer in psychology and education at Cambridge University, 1,100 parents with children aged up to three were quizzed about playtime.
The survey revealed that 63 per cent thought one-to-one play helps their child develop new skills more quickly and 66 per cent worried that they ddin’t play with them enough.
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However Dr Whitebread has warned that child-led play is far more productive for children and parents who deny their child time to explore alone could actually be harming their development.
‘The really big concern over the last decade is the relative loss of opportunities for children to engage in child-led play,’ he said.
‘Children’s lives are much more structured than they have ever been – and there is quite a lot of evidence to suggest this can be detrimental. Parents can certainly be given guidelines about productive ways of playing with their children, but it’s important that play is not structured all the time,’ he added.
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On average, children in the survey, commissioned by parenting website MadeForMums in association with Fisher Price, spent 5.4 hours a day playing – 2.3 hours directly with their parents and 1.9 independently.
Do you let your child play and explore alone? Let us know below.