10 Minutes Of Play Can Stimulate Your Child’s Wellbeing

By Rebecca Cox

1 month ago

The juggle is real

Worried you didn’t play with your children enough over the Easter holidays? Ahead of the upcoming May Bank Holiday and May half term, try to carve out some time for play-based activities with your children. Children’s clinical psychologist Dr Elizabeth Kilbey says that just 10 minutes of play a day is enough to stimulate a child’s wellbeing and development during the holidays. 

Do you have time to play with your kids?

A recent study by Kinder found that 86 percent of parents struggle to find activities to do with their children during the school holidays, and 65 percent said they find it difficult to fit play time around their work schedule. 

Can playtime boost wellbeing and build relationships?

According to Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, even finding just 10 minutes to play with your children can do a lot to boost their wellbeing and strengthen child-parent relationships. ‘With parents under increasing time pressures, it might be easy to feel like they’re not doing enough. But in fact, they are doing a great job – and even just 10 minutes of play with their little ones can mean a lot,’ she said. 

‘The relatively short period of time helps to nurture well-rounded growth and strengthens the parent-child relationship. It has also been shown to encourage problem-solving, creativity, improve motor skills, coordination, and imagination. When it comes to vital social skills, engaging in play can enhance mood, and can help to provide an outlet for a child’s self-expression.’

So what should be on the agenda? How about a little game of role-play? ‘Role-playing also fosters empathy and compassion, helping children to understand others’ feelings. Play scenarios even allow kids to practice conflict resolution, teaching negotiation and how to compromise from a young age.  

‘Many of these skills set us up for adult life, so whether it’s practicing sharing or taking turns and collaborating, these skills can all be learned through play.’

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10 Minutes Of Daily Play

‘The importance of play as a bonding experience is a key factor too as spending just 10 minutes of focused play helps to strengthen the parent-child connection,’ says Dr Elizabeth Kilbey. ‘It’s an opportunity for parents to engage and listen, bringing them closer together. Building on this, regular play builds trust, and this shared play creates core memories, which reinforces the parent-child relationship.’

Favourite Games

The Kinder poll of 1000 parents with children aged four to 12-years-old found that these role play-based games were the favourites of their children. ‘Superhero’ (34 percent), ‘Teacher’ (33 percent) and ‘Shopkeeper’ (29 percent) took the top three spots. 

Limit Screen Time

It can be tempting to just let children watch screens or play video games all day if you’re working from home with the kids around, but limiting screen time and keeping a close eye on what they’re playing and watching online is key in keeping your children safe. Check out thinkuknow.co.uk, childnet.com and nspcc.org.uk for guides on keeping children safe online. If your child does have a favourite video game that you’re comfortable with them playing, like Minecraft or Mario Kart, consider giving it a go yourself: making the effort to connect with your child through play in this way will strengthen your relationship. And who knows, you might be awesome.