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Better mental health for children who learn to play well with others at pre-school age

16-06-2022

Giving young children who might be vulnerable to mental health issues access to well-supported opportunities to play with peers, such as play groups, could significantly benefit their long-term mental health, according to new research by Cambridge University. 

A four-year study of almost 1,700 children found that those who demonstrate better peer play ability at age three consistently showed fewer signs of poor mental health in later childhood.

Researchers at the Play in Education, Development and Learning (PEDAL) Centre at the university’s Faculty of Education reported that children who play well with others go on to have lower hyperactivity, fewer conduct and emotional problems reported by parents and teachers, and were less likely to get into fights or disagreements with other children.
 

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