Playtime is valuable time. Children love it when their parents play with them. It takes your relationship to an entirely different level. Children learn through play. During play children often imitate valuable adult behaviour, stretch their imagination and reinforce creativity, and feel like they have accomplished something. When you play with your child you add to these benefits by making your child feel important and valued.
As you play with your child let your child decide what to play.
They usually choose an activity that they are interested in. When a child decides what to play it will keep their attention longer. It also increases the child’s feelings of self-worth because they feel that their parent likes, and is interested in, the things that they do. You might get bored with the same activity but your child learns through repetition. If you are tired of it add a new dimension to the activity: turn the tea party into cooking an entire meal; instead of just pushing around cars, build a garage and pretend to fix them. As your child gets older their interests will change as well. They might want to go outside and kick around a ball or play a game. They might want to help you cook in the kitchen or scrapbook together. Whatever your child’s interests, just make sure that your child chooses the activity – not you.
While you are playing focus on your child; don’t let your mind wander to work, the laundry, or the dishes in the sink.
Your child will realise that they don’t have your complete attention and feel that they are not important enough to keep it. So use your imagination and get involved; play the part that you are given.
Playtime is a time for parents to relax and unwind.
It de-stresses their life and helps them focus on what is truly important: their child. Play helps parents better understand their children’s desires, abilities and developmental stage. During play a parent’s nature is often revealed and they see how their child views them.
When your child is a little older you will find that a great time to talk is when you are involved in an activity.
Because you are involved in an activity that the child enjoys the conversation is low-key. Your child is more likely to listen to you and you are more likely to really listen to your child.
Schedule some time to play with your child every day.
If you don’t plan playtime into your day it is easy to let the day slip away without ever really playing with your child. Consider playtime an investment in your child’s future. It is during playtime that you build a bond with your child. Express to them their importance to you. And as your child grows they will continue to want to spend time with you.
Building as little as ten to fifteen minutes of unstructured playtime into your kids’ lives teaches them to:
Develop the Skill of “Self-Talk” This refers to your child’s ability to carry on conversations in his or her mind, which is linked to problem-solving and perseverance.
Process Thoughts and Feelings In addition to providing a built-in source of fun, imaginative play can also help your child work through difficult emotions, such as fear and anger. You’ll notice that at times these emotions will come out while your child is playing independently, and this can alert you to the need for further discussion with your child about certain topics.
Like and Accept Themselves Children who are able to initiate and enjoy self-directed play generally like who they are and experience greater self-confidence.
Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle
Play provides plenty of opportunities for physical exercise, which is a key factor in preventing obesity.
There is actually a connection between play and your child’s cognitive development. For example, repetitive physical activities, such as jumping or skipping, can create new neural pathways in the brain. This can be especially helpful when your child has to memorise new information such as maths facts or spelling words.
Grow Socially and Emotionally
Imaginative, make-believe play allows children to practice social roles and develop empathy, impulse control, and a spirit of co-operation.
Experience Joy and Happiness
The joy of childhood play lasts longer than the cherished moments we witness in the here and now. Experts have found that children who have plenty of opportunities toplay during their youth grow up to become happy adults.
You and your child will have stronger and longer lasting bonds. You are building memories with him/her when you are playing with him/her rather than watching the game from a window. It gives you something to talk about when your child gets older. Teamwork always builds stronger bonds.
You can teach your child about good sportsmanship and how to play the game better. You are your child’s life coach. It only makes sense that you help coach him/her during playtime. You will be the envy of your child’s playmates as well. Your children will be happier and so will you. Nothing will put a smile on your child’s face faster than if you say yes to him/her when he/she asks you to play. He/she adores you and this will only strengthen those bonds. If your child is happier, you will be happier. It is just plain fun to play with your children. Forget the cleaning. It will be there when you get done. Your child will grow up much faster than you think. The saying is “don’t blink” – and with good reason. You blink and they have grown. All you will have left is the memories of the fun times you and your child had when he/she was growing up. Have fun with your child now while you have the chance.
These are just a few reasons why it is important to play with your children rather than watching from the sidelines. The benefits of such actions will last throughout your life and the life of your child. Give everything you have to your child and you will see it
Your children will find it more enjoyable if they are playing with their parents and laughing together. A family that laughs together stays together.
Child-initiated play lays a foundation for learning and academic success. Through play, children learn to interact with others, develop language skills, recognise and solve problems, and discover their human potential. In short, play helps children make sense of and find their place in the world.
The value of Play
You say that you love your children,
And are concerned that they learn today,
As am I, that’s why I’m providing
A variety of kinds of play.
You are asking: what’s the value
Of having you play with your children?
Your daughter’s creating a tower,
She may be a builder someday.
You’re asking me the value
Of blocks and sand and clay.
Your children are solving problems,
They will use that skill every day.
You’re saying that you don’t want your son
To play in that sissy way.
He’s learning to cuddle a doll,
He may be a father someday.
You’re questioning the interest centres,
They just look like useless play.
Your children are making choices,
They’ll be on their own someday.
You’re worried your children aren’t learning
And later they’ll have to pay.
They’re learning a pattern for learning,
For they’ll be learners always.
And how much better can it get
When you are part of their playtime!