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Fisher-Price looks for positive effects of play in new study

Playtime for Everyone report looks at positive effects that playing with children can have on parents, grandparents and other caregivers.

Infant preschool brand, Fisher-Price has published its new report looking at the positive effects that playing with children can have on parents, grandparents and other caregivers.

Playtime for Everyone was conducted in conjunction with Dr Jacqueline Harding, a senior lecturer at Middlesex University and an international expert in child development and neurophysiology.

Much has previously been documented on the benefits of play for children, but little is known on the positive effects for adults.

The new report addresses this by pooling together several studies focused specifically on this area, which have then been interpreted by Dr Harding through her new theory of ‘Playful Triangulation’.

The evidence suggests playtime can help reduce stress levels, increase well-being, boost mental stamina and even strengthen the immune system. Laughter while playing with children, for example, can even equate to time spent at the gym.

Playing can also help to counteract the stress releases of cortisol in the brain, with Dr Harding discovering that this is also cyclical. Parents and carers who are being subjected to increased levels of stress during the coronavirus crisis can help prevent the erosion of positive relationships with children through bursts of frequent harmonious play-driven interaction. This is particularly important during this crisis now that kids are unable to interact or play with other children.

“We know this is an incredibly stressful time for parents who are trying to juggle so much in an unprecedented situation,” said Dr Harding. “This report reveals that playtime can be an antidote to stress and have many positive benefits for adults as well as kids.

“Keep playing with your child in whichever way you enjoy most, because the benefits can last a lifetime and, it’s good for children and great for you. It’s a win-win.”

Pauline de la Riviere, UK marketing director for Fisher Price, added: “This new research brings together all the positives that can be gained through play for all the family which is particularly relevant for the times we are living.

“Whatever time you can spare to play, in whichever way you choose to play, there are no rights or wrongs, we hope to support parents and inspire them to keep on playing knowing there are benefits for them and their children which will help during this difficult time.”

The report was originally due to be released later this year as part of Fisher-Price’s global campaign, Let’s Be Kids.

In addition, Dr Harding has also developed her ‘Top tips for making the most of playtime during lockdown’. These have been released by Fisher-Price, giving parents scientifically sound suggestions for a positive playtime should they want to learn about the psychological attributes of play.

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