|Why Our Work Matters: American Academy of Pediatrics Now Prescribing Play
“Play is not frivolous; it is brain building.” -- American Academy of Pediatrics
Of course, the idea that play is a decidedly unfrivolous activity is not news to anyone at Boston Basics, since the fourth Basic is “Explore through Movement and Play.” Still, all of the recent attention to play in both academia and the media represents real validation!
The most extraordinary attention came in August from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which published an intriguing policy statement on the importance of play. The Academy suggested, among other things, that pediatricians should prescribe play at the end of each well-child visit during the first two years of life.
The AAP confirmed that play “provides a singular opportunity to build the executive functioning that underlies adaptive behaviors at home; improve language and math skills in school; build the safe, stable, and nurturing relationships that buffer against toxic stress; and build social–emotional resilience.” In other words, play makes children smarter, safer, healthier, and higher-achieving.
This policy statement made headlines, including in The New York Times.
At Boston Basics, we know that doctor’s offices are some of the best places to reach families with messages about how to give children a great start in life. We’re excited to partner with health-care professionals who are dedicated to promoting play as a part of early-childhood development.
So, if you are a parent or caregiver, make time for play this fall. Smile at your baby, roll a ball to your toddler, or pretend you’re a zoo animal alongside your preschooler. Follow their lead, respond to their curiosity, help them build on their ideas. Your stress will melt away, your child will reap both short-term and long-term benefits--and you’ll be doing just what the doctor ordered.
Learn more about all five Boston Basics at BostonBasics.org.