Playtime is not only fun, but is also important for children—it makes them fitter, improves their communication skills, and helps them build healthy interpersonal relationships. Why not use some play to enhance your own social experience? Getting your kids to shut their video games and iPads, and asking them to spend more time with you could benefit the family as a whole. Read on to find out why you need to make this change.

1. It’s Good For Health
Studies show that play helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease by releasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which spurs the growth of neurons and encourages them to make new connections. Outdoor games promote better hand-eye coordination and reduce stress. They relax your muscles, help you breathe better, promote better blood flow and in turn, relieve health issues such as headaches and fatigue. Watch your fitness and energy levels go up as you play, and inculcate this healthy habit in your kids as well.

2. It Builds Social Bonds
When families play together, it’s inevitable that they lighten up and communicate in a more casual environment. Play leads to the building of happy memories, and the sharing of inside jokes. The happiness that is generated by playing together fosters emotional and spiritual healing for children and adults, alike. It’s hard to hold a grudge or be resentful when you’re throwing a ball or playing Monopoly together.

3. It Improves Everyday Skills
Playing together with your family members is likely to inculcate a deeper sense of belonging, and make you more productive. Children who come from families that indulge in regular play have high self-esteem, while adults report increased creativity and better problem-solving abilities. As it turns out, playing as a family results in better grades in school and higher productivity at the workplace.

Dr Stuart Brown, a medical doctor, psychiatrist and clinical researcher emphasizes on the importance of play. He is the founder of The National Institute for Play in California, and author of the book Play. Through his research of animal behavior and people of different backgrounds, he has found a strong correlation between playtime and success. He believes that play is imperative to the development of our social skills, adaptability, intelligence, creativity, and problem-solving ability. So whether it’s a game of ball outdoors or Scrabble on the dining table, put your game face on and get down to some play.

Read More:
Getting Kids To Unplug: Parenting Tips For The Wired Generation
Meditation For Children: Dos And Don’ts

Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.