Parents interested in enriching their children’s lives could learn a thing or two from a pair of playful cartoon dogs – namely Bandit and Chilli, the father and mother from the hit ABC series Bluey. Child development experts say the show, starring the little blue heeler pup, Bluey, 6, and her sister, Bingo, 4, has a lot to teach us about the importance of play.

“We don’t properly understand what play affords us,” says Marc de Rosnay, professor of child development at UOW. “It’s an opportunity to suspend reality and really take on a different way of thinking and experiencing the world. Those are the same skills you need when you start studying classics and understanding the ancient world in history.”

De Rosnay says Bluey and the Heeler family are not just a TV phenomenon – they’re also rewriting the rules on how to parent four- to six-year-olds, and in many ways harking back to another era. “What we definitely had in previous generations was more freedom, more space for play and more space for play among children of different ages,” he says. “And even within the home, more space for play that doesn’t have an objective. So many of children’s activities now have an objective – they’re defined by an outcome.”

De Rosnay shared these insights and more on the latest episode of Good Weekend Talks, moderated by Good Weekend editor Katrina Strickland. The discussion was based on this week’s cover story – “New tricks: Why child development experts are telling parents to follow the lead of a cartoon dog” – penned by Good Weekend senior writer Melissa Fyfe, who joins them on the podcast.

For the full article from Sydney Morning Herald please click here.

Image from ABC iview website.