6 Ways That Play Develops Self-Regulation

Updated: Oct 19, 2018



6 ways play develops self-regulation skills

Play is an extremely well-researched area and is proven beyond doubt to be much more than just childhood fun; it is crucial for an individual's social, cognitive, physical, and emotional development. It is so important that play is even included in the United Nations human rights treaty, Conventions on the Rights of a Child.

Amongst the myriad of benefits from play is the contribution to self-regulation development. Skills are developed through the variety of play types a child may engage in: from motor to construction, pretend play to games with rules. As an occupational therapist, I see a number of children who present with 'self regulation difficulties' but on closer observation, they have difficulty engaging in a variety and depth of play types. While there are programs designed to target teaching self regulation skills (which I have found useful, especially with older children), I find play is the best therapy to support a child to develop their self-regulation skills, due to the depth of what can be taught and developed through supported play. Next time you are playing alongside your child, remember you are also supporting their regulation development! 6 Ways Play Develops Self Regulation 1. Building Positive Relationships: