The Power of Play Time

We all get by with a little help from our friends.

New research shows that kids who play with friends before they turn three are more likely to avoid mental health issues. That goes for everyone, even those at high risk.

The University of Cambridge study gathered data from almost 1,700 kids at ages three and seven and found that kids who played with peers in those early years had fewer signs of mental health issues at age seven.

“What matters is the quality—rather than the quantity—of peer play,” said Vicky Yiran Zhao, a PhD student and first author on the study. “Games with peers that encourage children to collaborate, for example, or activities that promote sharing, will have positive knock-on benefits.”

Covid has made playdates SO EASY, I know, but this research could inspire organizations to take play seriously, possibly leading to more free organized play time for families who need help.

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