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Importance of play in the child


Play can be defined as any activity that is performed only for pleasure and without a specific conscious purpose. This is an activity typical of childhood, which is essential for the cognitive , physical, social and emotional development of children and young people. It can continue into adulthood through cultural experience as well.

When the child plays, he is immersing himself in an ideal world, a world that combines fantasy and reality, in which thoughts and desires emerge that are reflected in his creations. The  alteration or absence of the game may be indicating a serious problem in the normal development of the child, therefore, it is necessary to carefully observe when the child plays and pay close attention to the alarming signs.

Play in babies

The behavior of the game has its origin in the early bond and has to do with what is called illusion.

The baby believes he creates what satisfies him, living in terms of pleasure – displeasure. When the mother who is good enough – in Winnicott’s words – attends to the baby, she generates the illusion in the baby of omnipotence , and she believes herself to satisfy her desire, thus creating the basis for psychic development, although at this stage there is total indiscrimination.

Winnicott speaks after early discrimination that comes with disappointment. That mother who delusions the baby also disappoints him with waiting, with frustrations , and the baby realizes that satisfaction does not come immediately. The mother lends her “I” to the baby because of his helplessness and introduces him to the world in small doses. Little by little the feeling of omnipotence is breaking down and leaving it to give place after other stages to symbolic play and later to regulated play.

The game comes to be configured as an intermediate experience between the external and internal world. That ability to play has to be enabled from the illusion and make use of creativity, it also has to do with that. It is a space free of conflict that does not anguish but liberates, even for a little while.

Play in children

In the child it is a structuring, pleasant and creative activity that allows the resolution of conflicts. It is very useful for psychologists since it is a vast field of observation, to be able to arrive at a diagnosis and make an evaluation, in turn it opens the field for communication in psychotherapy.

Regarding the alterations, there may be an inhibition of the same in time, in the variety, in the completeness (it remains in the process), in the group integration (approximately at 4-5 years). Whenever there is an alteration we are talking about something really serious.

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Although it is an inherent activity of the child, there are actions from the adult world that will stimulate them to display these behaviors or not. Limits are necessary , the child must play the game safely. Between the limit and the stimulation will be the own experiences of the parents as children.

Benefits of play in children

Playing is extremely beneficial for the stimulation of the child and the healthy development of the brain, because when playing children they display their creativity as they develop their imagination, dexterity, physical, cognitive and emotional strength. 

Through play, children begin to get involved with the world around them. Learning words, gestures, imitating and creating. Many times children play adulthood and imitate the behavior of people close their environment ; This can sometimes work as a mirror for parents, where they are reflected in the behavior of their children, and in this way they can notice their own behavior and take the necessary measures to modify or improve it according to the representation of the child. boy.

Play helps children develop new skills that lead to the self-confidence and resilience they will need to face future challenges. It also teaches them to share, to learn to work in groups, to empathize with the other, to make decisions and to develop skills for conflict resolution.

The game also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to become fully involved with their children. Parents who have the opportunity to connect with their children’s world learn to communicate more effectively with them and can encourage other possible scenarios that show them different values ​​and offer them gentle and nurturing guidance.

Game disorders in children

Game disorders can be due to various causes that will depend on each particular family and the child’s developmental capacity.

One of the causes of impaired play in children is that the time for free play has been markedly reduced in some children. This may be due to school pressure, different school or extracurricular activities, a hurried lifestyle, changes in the family environment, among others.

Free time for play can have implications for children’s ability to store new information, since children’s cognitive ability is enhanced by a clear and significant change in their cognitive and emotional, as well as sensory and motor activity.

In families where parents work long hours and children are cared for by someone else, the child’s development can be affected and have repercussions through play.


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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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