It has been said that parents are their child's first playmates. Not only do parents have an important role in choosing appropriate toys for their children, but also research shows that children who play regularly with their parents enjoy the greatest developmental benefits. For children fortunate enough to have grandparents and other extended family members who live nearby, playtime with these special adults also can be enriching.
Supervision of play enables the adult to read instructions and ensure that toys are being safely assembled, used, stored and maintained. It also provides an opportunity to observe and learn more about the personality, abilities and interests of the child, which can guide in the selection of future toy purchases.
While supervision is critical, the richest play occurs when parents or other adults take an active role and play alongside the child. Observe your child, take his or her lead, and offer new ways to play and have fun. Too often, parents think they are too busy to play with their child. Yet, children grow up while we're washing dishes and opening mail. Sometimes life can wait.