The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds

Pediatrics. 2007 Jan;119(1):182-91. doi: 10.1542/peds.2006-2697.


Play is essential to development because it contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and youth. Play also offers an ideal opportunity for parents to engage fully with their children. Despite the benefits derived from play for both children and parents, time for free play has been markedly reduced for some children. This report addresses a variety of factors that have reduced play, including a hurried lifestyle, changes in family structure, and increased attention to academics and enrichment activities at the expense of recess or free child-centered play. This report offers guidelines on how pediatricians can advocate for children by helping families, school systems, and communities consider how best to ensure that play is protected as they seek the balance in children's lives to create the optimal developmental milieu.

Publication types

  • Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child Rearing*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting
  • Parents / psychology
  • Pediatrics
  • Physician's Role
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Psychology, Child*
  • Stress, Psychological