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Fun and simple playtime activities help your child build life skills

By Alison Hilborn

Did you know that positive relationships are the most important aspect of raising a happy, well-balanced, emotionally-connected child? My past columns focused on learning skills and information through play that will help children do better in school and later in life. But for that to happen, caring, positive, supportive relationships must be in place first!

According to Dr. Jean Clinton, an expert on child development, research shows that love and a secure relationship are the most important ways to help build your child's brain, and that outcomes of comforting a child are lifelong. A child learns to care about other people's feelings because someone showed understanding for their feelings. In turn, she has healthier relationships and more confidence in school and in life.

A newborn's loving, dependable relationship with parents, and other important people in their life, set the stage for early childhood and well beyond. When adults warmly and consistently respond to a child's needs, he grows up believing in himself. He will be trusting enough to care well for others, and be open to new people and new experiences.

Mother embracing Child

Uri Bronfenbrenner, a famous child psychiatrist, said, “Every child needs at least one adult who is irrationally crazy about him or her.”  Remember, your love is completely unconditional. Your child understands that you are always there for her – no matter what – when she feels sad or angry, makes mistakes, or just has a bad day.

Be intentional about connecting with your child – talking, playing, reading, walking, exploring. Ask yourself:
Am I interacting and playing with my child every day? Am I spending true quality time? How can I show my child how much he matters to me? What can I do to strengthen our relationship?

Father holding child's hands outdoors

Strong connections lead to happier, healthier children. To watch videos with information how to make family relationships more meaningful, visit

Alison Hilborn is the Acton Hub Coordinator. Learn more at This blog is based on information provided by Halton early years professionals. Halton has many helpful resources, if you have concerns about your child, contact a healthcare professional.

Read other CPLE Blogs About Parenting Infants and Young Children

A Strong Connection Leads to Happier, Healthier Children
Risky Play is More Than Ok!
It's Easy to Turn Ordinary Items into Playtime Fun and Learning
During playtime, leading is learning
Parents can find information, ideas, and inspiration at
Fun and simple playtime activities help your child build life skills

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