The way that you play with your child can impact your child’s development

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist) by Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist) Additional Needs

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist)

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist)

I'm a pediatric physical therapist and also the sibling of an adult with special needs.

The way that you play with your child can impact your child’s development

All this together time at home has afforded parents a lot more time to be involved in many aspects of their child’s daily lives.

Whereas in the past, many parents have often left their home early in the morning, only to reunite with their children 6 or maybe even 8-10 hours later.

Parents have gained easier access to their children by being in and around the house during wake hours and taking more of an active role in day to day and recreational activities.

In many homes, this extra time together has had a positive impact on teaching a child self-regulation skills.

Recent studies have shown that fathers generally engage in more physical play with their children.

The University of Cambridge has found that this type of play helps a child develop self-regulation.

Parent-child play in early years generally focuses on cognitive and communication skills.

However, even with babies, fathers were found to move limbs up, down, and around.

Then as the child grows, fathers are found to engage in games such as tag, play wrestling, tickling or chasing one another.

This type of play typifies a rhythm where there’s a quiet time, an unanticipated movement or explosive sound, and then the cycle repeats.

The parent generally monitors the child’s reaction and modulates their response based on their findings.

Simultaneously, from the child’s perspective, a child must anticipate the antecedent, receive and integrate the information, and then wind down in preparation for the next cycle.

Rough play with your child is in no uncertain terms a sensory experience to the max and another way to teach your child self-regulation.

The sounds, the movement, the tactile touch, be it a squeeze, tickle, or swing, can be very stimulating to any body.

In a circuitous way, rough play actually trains a child’s self-regulation as they anticipate, and then regroup from, each wave of tactile, auditory, and visual stimulation.

Longitudinal studies have shown that children who have experienced rough play develop better self-regulation skills when they start school.

*I acknowledge that the label of ‘father’ is arbitrary as I know that the family unit can look many different ways. Just to clarify this is not a political nor a social statement.


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