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Zambia’s First Lady Esther on Friday launched a campaign aimed at promoting family bonds in the country through the encouragement of play at the family level.

The Playful Parenting Campaign was aimed at promoting play as a critical component of a child’s development.

The Zambian first lady said during the virtual launch of the campaign that play was important to children’s development as it was what children do in the early years of their lives.

She said the play was critical to help children in discovering their environments and to learn, noting that parents and teachers were the first and best teachers of children.

“As the mother of the nation and matron for early childhood education, I am passionate about early childhood development,” she said.

According to her, there was a lot that parents could do at the household level to use play as a tool for learning for children without the use of expensive tools or equipment. There were a lot of objects in homes that could be used in games in order to develop the brains of children, she said, adding that play was cardinal in nurturing family bonds.

Minister of Health Jonas Chanda said the campaign will promote play, one of the most overlooked components in children’s development.

While acknowledging that parents have had the responsibility of bringing up children, the Zambian minister said the outcome has not been desirable hence the need to emphasize the importance of play.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative to Zambia Noala Skinner said children could only thrive if they were safe and protected and when families and communities were safe for their upbringing.

She said caregiving was important for the upbringing of children and welcomed the Zambian government’s commitment to protecting the country’s play spaces for children, adding the organization was supporting Zambia in early child development programs through various initiatives. Enditem

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