Why Doctors are Being Told to Prescribe Play

children sledding

If you followed healthcare news over the summer, you may recall that pediatricians are being encouraged to prescribe play for children’s development. This isn’t just a fad—the American Academy of Pediatrics has actually done a lot of work to find out how play helps and if American kids are getting enough of it. The result? Many children aren’t getting the chance to play, and they are missing out on some important skills as a result. In the psychology field, child behavior psychologist incorporate a wide variety of tools to help children express themselves and learn, including a variety of play elements. In fact, there is a high demand for children’s play therapy in Highlands Ranch because play works! Read on to find out how play helps all sorts of kids.

Creativity and Critical Thinking

Today’s children are getting more hours of school, more hours of extracurriculars, and less original with every passing year. Now, colleges and universities are looking for rarities like creativity and critical thinking, which can be developed in play! From using a comb as a tiny ladder to building a bridge out of playing cards, play offers a chance to build these skills naturally.

Social Skills

Even when your child plays alone, social skills can grow. Particularly for children who play with “characters” (be those stuffed animals, action figures, LEGO people, or paper cutouts), social skills can grow as children explore conflict, resolution, and alternatives.

Language Development

Ever listen quietly from another room while your child plays? Those make-believe stories, voices, and sound effects are fodder for funny videos, but also offer your child an important outlet to try new words and phrases and explore communications in a setting where nobody will judge him.


We want our kids to learn… but all work and no play makes a child dull, bored, irritable, or disruptive! Your child is likely in school for 6-8 hours a day and doing homework as well—allowing time to play is the equivalent of your boss “allowing” you to go home and relax on the weekends. Promote good self-care by encouraging play and downtime.

Ready to play? Your child sure is! Independent playtime is great, but if your child invites you to play, remember to be a good “guest” and follow her lead, get engaged, and have fun. For help using play to address problem behaviors and emotional upset, consult with a skilled play therapist in Littleton and Highlands Ranch.

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