Theatre trips could improve child development

Taking your child to the theatre can help improve areas of their development and aid their understanding of emotions, according to Dr Natasha Kirkham at Birkbeck, University of London.

Dr Kirkham, who is a researcher at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck, also suggests there is clear evidence that attending a live theatre performance can play an interesting role in enhancing social bonds and help children develop emotional intelligence.

Despite this, new research for Encore Tickets, the UK’s leading independent ticket provider, shows that 30 per cent of parents say their child has never been to the theatre, meaning they could be missing out on the pivotal benefits watching a live theatre performance can bring.

Dr Kirkham says: “When people behave similarly, they perceive each other as more alike, which in turn creates a sense of connection or attachment. Going to the theatre with family and friends can therefore offer the potential of promoting relationships. This is in addition to the already known benefits of spending time as a family.

“This has clear implications for child development, given that childhood is a vital time for forming social groups and bonding. Developmental psychologists have known for many years that play acting is a fundamental part of development. It allows children the space to engage in different personalities, work their way through complex social relationships and navigate emotional issues. It is exciting to consider that attending the theatre could offer some of the same benefits.”