Learning to play inclusively is crucial to your child’s physical, social, and emotional development. Playing with others can help your child to build social skills, confidence, independence, and resilience. It also exposes your child to people of difference cultures, religions, economic backgrounds, family structures, genders, and abilities, so it’s important to teach them about diversity and inclusion from a young age. Teaching your child to play inclusively can help them to become more tolerant, accepting and empathetic individuals.
Inclusive play isn’t just about asking your child to be nice to everyone, it’s about helping your child to understand that all individuals are different, should be valued and given the same opportunities regardless of their background or ability.
In play, inclusion is when children:
When children feel invited, accepted, appreciated, and included in play they are more likely to have higher self-esteem, engage in more meaningful relationships, and perform well at school.
Teaching them the importance of inclusion from a young age can not only empower them to navigate the evolving nature of play throughout primary school, but also help them to become caring and thoughtful towards others who may be facing some form of exclusion or difficulty with social play.
Parents can support their children in becoming more understanding and empathetic towards others through simple conversation, leading by example and implementing strategies that expose them to people, cultures and experiences different from their own.
Here are some practical tips to help your child play inclusively with others:
National Council of Social Service – Let’s Play Together: A fun and Simple Guide to Conduct Inclusive Games for all.
Kids Helpline – Bullying at School
Greater Good Magazine – Six Ways to Help your Child Deal with Social Exclusion
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