Skip to content
Childcare, General News

Over a third of parents don’t know how to play with their child

Ready Set Move 4 mins read
0-3 are the most important years for play with children.

New program to address lack of

play skills in families

  • One-third (36%) of parents say they sometimes don’t know how to play with their child
  • 50% are not confident that they could help their child to play
  • Almost two in three parents (61%) often find playing with their child hard or boring
  • 86% of parents say it is hard for them to find time to play with their children
  • 65% of parents believe play was better when they were growing up
  • Most parents (94%) recognise play is important for a child’s health, including physical wellbeing and brain development*

 

Play is essential for children’s development and brain growth. Yet, parents lack of confidence and knowledge in regard to play is impacting the amount of play children are experiencing, with one-third (36%) of parents unsure about how to engage in play. In comparison, half (50%) lack confidence in their ability to facilitate play effectively*.

Concerningly, 61% of parents often find playing with their child to be challenging or monotonous, and a staggering 86% struggle to carve out time for this crucial activity but with research proving the benefits of early years play-based programs, experts are urging families to focus on prioritising play skills. 

Belinda Agostino Chief Creative Director of Ready Set Dance commissioned a report from Early Childhood and Gifted Education Consultant, Dr Cathie Harrison on the benefits of play that led to the development of the Ready Set Move program for children aged 12 months to three years.

“The research shows that play, particularly in the very early years, contributes to brain development, creates flexibility, enhances creativity, builds resilience to stress and promotes social awareness and how to fit in with others,” Ms Agostino said. “Dr Harrison confirmed for us that more play-based activities were needed to help parents to prioritise play with their toddlers, re-learn the joys of play themselves and introduce their children to the developmental benefits.”

The results from the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCN) National Child Health Poll indicate she is right and that many parents have lost the skills of ‘play’ they had from their childhood and are not confident they can teach their own children how to play.

Ready Set Move meets the Early Learning Framework requirements for under three-year-olds and provides an easy way for parents to learn play techniques.

Ms Agostino said “We need to change the way we see play, as it is actually a highly intellectual engagement. What we are doing as parents when we play with our children is exposing them to new experiences and building resilience that they can draw on in difficult times.”

We know families are not prioritising play, but it is necessary for a child’s development, especially for their brain growth. The good news is it does the same for adults, so getting involved with your child and playing with them more will impact your brain the same way. Basically, we get smarter the more we play.”

Ready Set Move has been rolled out nationally in over 100 locations around Australia https://readyset.dance/ready-set-move/

  1. Start with Joy: Kick off playtime with activities that you both enjoy. Whether it’s grooving to your child’s favourite tunes, diving into a world of make-believe, or experimenting with tactile sensory toys, the goal is to revel in the fun of the moment. Focus on the happiness of your interaction—your engagement is what your child will remember and cherish.

  2. Let Your Child Lead: Children are exploratory by nature, so take cues from them. Participate in whatever they are doing, whether that’s building a block tower or drawing. This not only empowers them by validating their choices but also turns playtime into a collaborative adventure that strengthens your bond.

  3. Weave Play into Your Routine: Make play a seamless part of your daily life. Incorporate games like “I Spy” on a drive, make silly faces while preparing breakfast, or have a mini dance party during cleanup time. Regular playful interactions can transform mundane routines into enjoyable experiences and foster a sense of security and attachment.

  4. Incorporate Structured Play: Sometimes, structured play activities, like a weekly class, can make it easier to ensure play is a consistent part of your schedule. Classes designed for parent-child participation can offer new ideas for play and interaction that you can bring home.

  5. Keep It Simple and Stress-Free: The essence of play lies in simplicity and spontaneity. Don’t worry about crafting the perfect play environment or achieving specific outcomes. The most beneficial play comes from simply being together and experiencing joy in the moment.

Case study Brent Pace - Father of Elle 2

Let me tell you, before becoming a dad, I expected I would find playing with my child fairly easy. I taught children as young as three how to dance, so I was going to be a natural and know how to engage and connect with kids. Right? Since Elle came into our world nearly 2 years ago, I've realised playing with a child and making quality time is not as easy as I’d anticipated.

I'll admit, playing with a toddler wasn't always my strong suit. Before, I'd find myself defaulting to putting on a TV show or reading a book—easy choices that didn't require much from me, Ready Set Move changed that. It has taught me the value of active participation in Elle's world of play. I also found a new kind of connection with her. It wasn't just about watching her from the sidelines; I was right there with her, dancing, playing, and, most importantly, learning. It improved my moods and I started to think of ways to play with her at home more. It wasn't long before I saw the changes in her, too. Her coordination, her ability to follow instructions, her confidence—all blossoming from something we did together once a week.


Key Facts:

  • One-third (36%) of parents say they sometimes don’t know how to play with their child
  • 50% are not confident that they could help their child to play
  • Almost two in three parents (61%) often find playing with their child hard or boring
  • 86% of parents say it is hard for them to find time to play with their children
  • 65% of parents believe play was better when they were growing up
  • Most parents (94%) recognise play is important for a child’s health, including physical wellbeing and brain development*

Contact details:

Trina McColl 0413 922 284 

Media

More from this category

  • Energy, General News
  • 23/05/2024
  • 11:28
Parents for Climate

Eraring extension risks higher power bills and kids’ health

May 23, 2024 Parents for Climate is appalled by the NSW Government’s decision to back coal instead of clean energy by extending the life of Australia’s largest coal-fired power station, Eraring, near Newcastle. Nic Seton, CEO for Parents for Climate said: “This go-slow decision on climate action undermines investment in clean energy and increases dangerous climate pollution that is harming NSW families now. Families struggling with bills want to see governments invest in long-term solutions that lower electricity bills, not expensive delays to our clean energy transition. “We know that clean energy is the best way to reduce power bills…

  • Agriculture Farming Rural, General News
  • 23/05/2024
  • 09:54
La Trobe University

Media Alert: Bird Flu – expert available for commentary

A La Trobe academic is available to discuss reports that ‘bird flu’ has been detected in Australia. Dr Emma Grant ARC DECRA Research Fellow, La Trobe Institute of Molecular Science (LIMS) Dr Grant is a viral immunologist with research focusing on understanding immune responses to viruses, with a particular interest in influenza viruses. Contact: e.grant@latrobe.edu.au media@latrobe.edu.au, or 0487 448 734 The following can be attributed to Dr Grant: “There are many different strains of influenza virus which can infect a range of mammals including humans, poultry, aquatic birds, horses and pigs.” “However, due to the way avian flu transmits, the…

  • General News, Mental Health
  • 23/05/2024
  • 08:59
Butterfly Foundation

Body dissatisfaction is stopping nearly half of young people in Australia from going to school.

Butterfly’s second annual Body Kind Youth Survey reveals young people in Australia are calling for more support to tackle body image issues and its impact on their daily lives. Of nearly 3,000 young people surveyed, over half (57%) were dissatisfied with how their body looks –11% more than 2022 results. Nearly half (49%) said body dissatisfaction stopped them attending school. 78% of young people wished they were thinner or leaner – 16% more than 2022 survey results. Almost two thirds (62%) said social media made them feel dissatisfied with their body –12% higher than the 2022 results. Young people want…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.