Parallel play helps children begin language development and create social relationships. Rubin et al.(1976) have suggested that "those who play beside others may desire the company of other children but may not yet have the skills required to play in an associative or cooperative manner". It can also assist with gross and fine motor skills through the child's own individualized play. Parallel play can increase confidence because children are learning to play near others. Children can observe one another and learn to use new skills from playing alongside others. Eventually, it will lead to social development where the child will form relationships with others during play. Parallel play can be useful in encouraging expression of a child's feelings through their own individualized play. The child will increasingly learn to share and become aware of others emotions, as well as learn cause and effect through trial and error of adjusting and solving problems in play.
"Parallel play is often viewed as characteristics of a 'stage' through which children pass as they develop from solitary players to social players". Children will undergo different playing stages in order to finally join people in groups. Analysis published in 2003 in Early Childhood Research Quarterly showed that preschool children, who enjoy watching others engage in parallel play, can have future activities designed to help with transition into higher levels of social interaction. The parallel-play activities can help neglected or rejected children with social transition between social-play states. Smith believed parallel play to be optional and not "After Parallel play, children were most likely to be found in either Together or Group Play". This suggests that parallel play played an important role to this transition.
According to a study performed by Wei Peng and Julia Crouse, parallel play can be used to design games, especially active video games that involve physical activity, to be more effective. Playing with other people, even if those individuals are strangers, was more motivational than playing alone and there does not appear to be a major difference in cooperation and competition between same physical space mode and separated physical-space mode. Also playing with others or online creates an ability to relate to others and parallel competition in separated space is more enjoyable, more physically exerting and creates higher future play motivation.
Children cope differently depending on how they were raised, this also applies to how they cope with unfamiliar beings in their lives. Jens B. Asendorpf refers to parallel play as a child's coping style, and explains that children who want to play with an unfamiliar peer will resort to this style. This coping style allows children to engage in the same activities as their peers from afar, until they are comfortable enough to socialize with their peers.
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