As discussed in the October 30 newsletter, there are many reasons to consider creating a specific time each week set aside solely for the purpose of play with your children. The benefits stretch into many areas, and it allows you to enjoy time with your family.
Children often beg for time from their parents and feel very neglected when there is not enough one on one time given to establishing the parent-child bond. Children are like sponges and absorb the attention, affection and love that parents provide.
There are some simple ways you can make the most out of your play times with your children. This can be a time that you both look forward to evey week, and the benefits can be observed in you and your child. For parents, it is a time that allows you to de-stress and relax. For the child, it provides a life-long connection to you and positive memories.
Parents often complain that their children do not talk to them and share what they are thinking or feeling. This is normal and common, as most children do not have the reasoning and cognition to verbally share what they feel. A popular quote about children and their play is “Play is a child’s language and toys are his words”. If you want to learn about your child’s interests, talents, ambitions, dreams and passions, sit on the floor and play with him!
Here are a few examples of how to play and why it is beneficial:
Let the child take the lead and develop the theme or game. Allow the child to be decisive and encourage the child to determine what you do. Help stimulate creativity and vision.
Ask questions and be attentive. Find out what drives their thoughts or choice of toys & games.
Avoid over-stimulation. Know when it is time to stop.
Use stuffed animals or puppets to act out real-life situations that can teach problem solving or social skills. Let the puppet demonstrate the wrong way to handle a situation. Then, along with input from the child, act out a better way.
Play games – card games, board games, silly and wacky kids games. Play kid games like: Follow the Leader – Guess What I Am? – Hide and Seek. Help them learn to take turns, how to win and how to lose.
Read a book together. Ask questions about the characters or plot. Ask them to change the story or make up a new one.
Watch a movie together. Find out what they liked – how they felt. Discover the child’s interests. Comment on and discuss any bothersome content.
Help kids only when they ask for it. Help them build confidence and self-esteem in their own abilities. Let them be proud of themselves for accomplishing something on their own.
Playing with kids builds a bond that will last forever. It lets the child know he or she is loved and appreciated. It opens the door for sharing problems and concerns when the need arises. It helps the parent get to know and understand the uniqueness of each child. Make play time a priority!