Playing is your child's first exposure to education, and as a parent, it's your job to make sure your child learns properly. Hoping to shed light on this issue, researchers from the University of Missouri studied how play and maternal supervision during playtime affects learning.

Featured on ScienceDaily.com, the study was based on data gathered from recorded videos of children from ages one to five while they played with their mothers. Researchers found that how mothers spent quality time playing with their children and how the children perceived their mothers--whether positively or negatively--have great impact in relationship-building and learning.

The study noted that very direct mothers would often coach their children to play a certain way. Less direct mothers allowed children to play with toys however they liked. An example of directive attitude toward playing would be a mother moving a child hand's away from a play stove or a mother telling her child that the toy horse should not be put in the barn through the window but through the doors. These direct methods of playing do not necessarily encourage a child's creativity and may lead a child to experience negative emotions toward the mother.

The key is not to direct, but to guide. Mothers should learn to toe the line between being too dominating and being too lenient to children, especially during their formative years. It’s important to let them exercise their senses, as well as to sometimes let them experience negative things in order for them to learn and to grow.

(Photo by Francisco Osorio via Flickr Creative Commons)

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