Dr. Jonathan Ponesse is a developmental pediatric neurologist at CHEO who hosted a session during the CHEO Connects for parents or future parents of 0-1 year olds and recently had an interview with CBC on the same topic.
Infant Play: The ‘Actors’, the ‘Stage’ and the ‘Script’! - Dr. Jonathan Ponesse
Parents often wonder if playing with their infant is something that they have to learn to do properly or to trust their intuition. Should it be serious and calculated or laid back and whimsical? Structured or unstructured? Parent- or child-lead? A means to learning or an end in itself?
Interview with In Town and Out
In Dr. Ponesse's interview he discusses the kind of development that occurs when infants play and what to look for from a clinical perspective. By noting that infants and children are wired to play, he explains that the act strengthens and develops new circuits that will then form associations in adult life. For these reasons, he reveals a return to simplicity is best because simple toys are like an open ended question, the more a toy does the less a child has to do. He also discusses what is looked for from a clinical standpoint when a child plays with a toy, reinforcing the return to simplicity.
Download the audioclip of Dr. Ponesse's interview with Michael Bhardwaj from In Town and Out on CBC Radio.