A national poll of parents and carers has found that families need more help to reap the benefits of play for their children.
The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) National Child Health Poll showed that, while families understand the critical role of play in their children’s learning, they often don’t know how to make it happen.
‘These research findings are really encouraging in a lot of ways,’ said Playgroup Australia CEO Dr Amanda Walsh. ‘The fact that 94% of parents know that play is important for their child’s physical wellbeing and brain development is a huge achievement.’
‘The messages about early learning and development are definitely being heard by parents,’ said Dr Walsh. ‘But these messages are not always being heeded, for a lot of compelling reasons.’
According to the National Child Health Poll report:
- Most parents (86%) say it’s hard to find time to play with their children.
- Half of parents (50%) are not confident they can help their child to play.
- More than one-third of parents (35%) think play is better when it involves toys, but an equal number say that toys are too expensive.
‘Parents are sending us their own clear message – they need more help to support their children’s play,’ Dr Walsh said.
Playgroup Australia supports the call to action in the National Child Health Poll report, to provide parents and carers with more practical advice and support, so their children can reap the benefits of play.
‘We urge every parent and carer of a young child to contact their local playgroup, for opportunities to engage in play with their child in a fun and supportive environment.’
At home, families can head to the Play + Learn Together website for step-by-step advice on how to create great play experiences for next-to-no money.
‘We owe it to children and their families to invest in play-based learning – at home, in the community and everywhere that children are present. Particularly in the first five years of life, play builds the skills that sustain children through life.’
The National Child Health Poll is available at www.rch.org.au/rchpoll