Q&A: Playing With Baby Too Much?
Is it healthy for me to spend a lot of time playing with baby? Should I let her play alone instead?
Kimberly Cossar, OTR: Children need interaction, whether it's with other kids or with adults. If they are able to play with other babies, they can get a good deal of stimulation there — but other children aren't always around, and it becomes necessary for a parent to step into that role. And even when playmates are around, they are going to need an adult to direct their play. It is crucial for adults to play and interact with kids of all ages, and it is a major responsibility of adults to foster children's play in order to enhance their development. During play, children are learning and developing skills (even though they just see it as fun). It is also important for small children to start learning some aspects of adults life (pretending to work, cook, drive...).
However, it is important for us as adults to remember to allow the child to direct the play by making choices. We are there to guide the play activities, not control them. It is our job to provide the appropriate toys, a safe and inviting environment, and plan play activities that are motivating for the child.