Parent-child interaction leads to long term benefits


This festive season, the Scottish Government’s Play Talk Read campaign is encouraging mums and dads to have some ‘good old fashioned fun’ with their little ones by revisiting games and past-times from their own childhood.

Newly appointed Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell is reminding parents that despite the wish list of dream toys on the Christmas list this year, it doesn’t have to be about expensive gifts or costly days out – it’s simple time and attention that really counts.

The Play Talk Read campaign champions positive interaction with under threes from day one through simple inexpensive activities – playing, talking and reading. It provides parents with the tools to stimulate their little ones and put in place the building blocks for future use by equipping them with the confidence and knowledge to engage in meaningful play.

Research underpinning the campaign shows that brain development is most rapid from 0-3 and that investing in quality time doing simple activities during this period will have positive repercussions for their long-term development. Imaginative play is therefore a vital source of physical, emotional and intellectual stimulus for them.

Ms Campbell said:

“Christmas time can leave parents feeling worried they have to splash out on lots of expensive toys. It’s important for mums and dads to know it’s the simple things that have a big impact such as playing with their kids more, or just spending time talking or reading with them. All of which costs nothing and can bring huge benefits for family life and a child’s positive development.

“The holiday season is a great opportunity to have some fun together as a family and revisit some of the old classic games from our own childhood such as hopscotch, skipping or head shoulders knees and toes. Overall, its quality time and attention that makes all the difference – simply playing, talking and reading with little ones and having good old fashion fun.”

The Play, Talk, Read campaign was launched in 2009 and highlights that simple interaction (playing, talking and reading) with children under three helps build the child/parent bond and can provide essential social skills, motivation and capabilities that make lifelong learning easier and help build a more successful life in the long term.

Research underpinning the Early Years Framework shows that:

* During the first three years 75 per cent of brain growth is complete
* By the age of three, 50 per cent of our language is in place
* Children whose parents talk to them frequently have better language skills than parents who seldom talk to them (at 20 months babies of talkative parents knew 131 more words that infants of less talkative parents. At 24 months the difference was 295)