THE FIRST 1000 DAYS
Play and Rest
Play plays a vital role in childhood development. It is through play that your child learns about the world and the skills and abilities they have. Your child goes through various stages of play: playing as a baby, as a toddler to preschool play and play in school. Each stage teaches your child essential skills to help with their childhood education and development. However, how much does your child need to play is a question that is difficult to answer. It varies across the stages. As a baby and as a toddler, your child spends most of their time playing. When your child enters preschool, a good part of the day, too, is spent playing. Now, your child engages in slightly more advanced play like pretend play. Your child may be playing in a group and, thus, learns social skills.
Play aids your child's development, and thus, you can ensure that your child has plenty of opportunities to play. You can provide your child with toys, take them to a playground, and schedule play dates with other children. Once your child enters school, only a part of the day will be spent playing. Your child may play after returning from school and on weekends. They may also have to make time to finish up homework or to study for a test. You can help your child make time for both. Play does not necessarily have to involve toys, pretend play, and the world of make-believe, it can also be a sport or arts and crafts. Play can also act as a stress reliever. In case your child has autism, you can schedule a time to play exclusively as part of the daily routine.
Similarly, just as play is important for your child, so is rest. Sleep is an integral part of one's life. In sleep, one's body rests so that one can function effectively. Studies have found that children who get the right amount of sleep regularly have improved attention, learning, memory, and overall physical and mental health. The amount of sleep varies depending on how old your child is. Newborns and infants sleep for most of the day, 12 to 16 hours. Children of 1-2 years of age are expected to rest for 11-14 hours. Three to five years olds need to sleep for 10- 13 hours. Children aged 6-12 are expected to sleep for 9-12 hours. If it is a challenge to put your child to sleep, establishing a bedtime routine may help. Your child can take a warm bath, and you can stop screen time at least one hour before bed.
Play and rest essential for your child's healthy growth and development. Play is where your child learns, develops their skills, and explores the world around them. On the other hand, your child requires rest to be able to function effectively; both body and mind can rest during sleep. In a way, play and rest appear to be opposites.
Dawkins, R. (2018). The Importance of Sleep for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/ACH-News/General-News/The-importance-of- sleep-for- kids#:~:text=Children%201%2D2%20years%20old,years%20old%3A%208%2D10%20 hours
Newcombe, R. (2012). How Often Should Children Play? Retrieved from http://www.earlychildhoodeducation.co.uk/how-often-should-children-play.html