The Benefits Of Role Play
Role-play is an important part of a child’s socialisation, and their future ability to interact with peers and wider society, research demonstrates.
The benefits of role play are numerous, but the effects on emotional, social, and linguistic development are astounding. Research has shown that children who engage in role play at an early age are more likely to be able to regulate emotions, have higher levels of linguistic aptitude, and be able to interact with peers in self-regulated games.
To first understand the emotional benefits of role play, it is important to understand the way in which young children function emotionally.
Between ages 1-3, children do not self-regulate emotions. Instead, they rely on adults to regulate emotions for them. When a young child is distressed, he/she cries.
It is up to the adult to comfort the child in order to control his/her emotions. In role play, a child’s emotions need to be self-regulated because of the nature of the interaction. In the absence of an adult, and the presence of a peer, children cannot rely on adults comforting and affecting their emotions, and thus gain skills to self-regulate.
Furthermore, one of the major benefits of role play is linguistic. Children must communicate about rules, imagination, and negotiation, thereby, their methods of communication to their peers shift from being emotional to linguistic in nature.
Finally, research indicates that role play enables a child to develop social skills as they encounter problems, develop relationships, and find the skills to sustain these relationships. These skills include sharing, negotiation, and self-restraint, along with group-work skills.
To place theory in a concrete example, we can examine the case of Angela a child who before engaging in role play was shy and could have furthered social skills. Once role play based interactions began occurring, she blossomed into a confident person with the skills to negotiate and develop relationships, verbalise and communicate solutions to problems, and demonstrate self-restraint and share with others – all of which are indicative of the benefits of role play in children. This all happened at Wannabees Family Play Town and her exposure to its atmosphere and kids activities.