“Play is the work of the Child”
Did you realize that “playing with your child” is an important parenting skill? Yes, it can be hard to find time in this busy world for play, but ask yourself these revealing questions to help you realize the importance of finding some time every day to play with your children.
- Why did I want to have children in the first place?
- Why do I love them?
- What do I wish I had done more of over the past few years?
- What did I wish my parents made more time with for me?
For parents of infants through four-year-olds, “time to cuddle, hold, play, and attend to the child is invaluable for the child to thrive. Play is the child’s opportunity to experience freedom, joy, and self-expression.” It is a time when children can feel full of themselves. children work out their feelings in play, and if there have been traumatic experiences, play is healing. When you play with your child it creates a loving and close bond. So enter into their world. Join their world of pretend. When your child structures a game and is enjoying it, do not make it harder, so he or she is not successful. SImply be accepting, reflecting, and enjoying.” (Diane Tillman, Living Values, Parent Groups, a Facilitator’s Guide,p 59)
For parents of five to nine-year olds ask yourself: what do I enjoy doing myself that I can do with my child? What would be fun for both myself and my child? Playing every day, even for only fifteen minutes guarantees your child gets the “us time” of full attention and close eye contact which builds cooperation and love. Within this bond, minor negatives will simply disappear. Play pretend games, play outside, play with balls and dolls. Don’t get competitive, instead model graceful winning and losing. Winning a game about one-third of the time is fine. Us Time can also be a time of just listening with your full attention. Use daily routine time to interact with your children, such as driving or walking to the store, while washing the dishes, or setting the table. (Tillman, p 60)
For parents of children ten to eighteen-years old, finding quality time every day to be with your children is basic to having a successful relationship with them. It is said that a thirteen-year old needs as much attention as a five-year-old. Stopping what you are doing to really be there will make such a difference, even for fifteen minutes a day. Consistent love and regard each day builds a safety net for helping them to feel better about themselves and help both of you to navigate the teen years more smoothly. (Tillman, p 61)
Have fun building this number one parenting skill into your life with your children each and every day! It is a priority, isn’t it?