How playtime is good development!

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I am super excited to introduce April Thompson of Spero Family Services, a Child/Family Therapist and a Parent Coach who has been so kind as to volunteer to write a blog post for Tiny Oranges!  Here are some great tips on how to make your child’s playtime an essential part of their growth and development.    

Did you know that playtime actually enhances your child’s development?
By April Thompson, LMFT


Research has shown that through play, a child learns and develops: social skills, motor skills, creativity, cognitive skills, problem solving, and language skills. By playing with others, they develop skills such as empathy, sharing, teamwork, cooperation, and patience. So what does this mean as a parent? No you don’t have to let your child play all the time. Other activities are just as important to their growing bodies and brains as well such as: mealtime, hygiene time, sleep, learning to do chores if age appropriate, recreational activities, quiet times together: options of reading, journaling, drawing, painting, or educational opportunities such as exploring places like museums or the theater. So how do you fit playtime in your busy family schedule? If your child isn’t in school yet, that’s great, there’s tons of time. If they are in school, maybe give them an hour of free play time when they get home. Remember, they’ve been doing academics all day. No child wants to go straight back to the books. Let them run free for a bit. Join them if you can; use your imagination with them. Limit video games, movies, and TV time. Be creative: pretend those cushions are walls and build a fort, or imagine you’re on a carpet ride, what does your child see? Create opportunities to teach social values through the play. This can be done by creating a conflict, or role playing a scenario where your child has to demonstrate compassion or problem solving skills. Other ideas might include: Making a craft or baking something together. Encourage play dates. Join a Mommy/Daddy and Me group if your child is younger. Create a play room or play area in the house. Paint a mural on the walls. Go to the park on regular basis, especially if you don’t have a backyard. Have fun with your kids, be silly, it’s a good stress relief for you too!

April Thompson is a Licensed Child and Family Therapist serving Orange County. If you have any questions or comments about this article feel free to contact April at 714-330-8708 or email her at


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