It’s time once again for Heather Johnson from Family Volley to share some of her amazing Parenting Tips on How To Play with Our Children as part of her “Parenting Tips Series” here on The Idea Room. Here’s Heather in her own words.
We have all heard the benefits that come from playing with our children. It is vital to their development and learning. But sometimes, one more round of Candy Land can seem like torture. We are thinking about all the other things we need to get done. We are bored with the games, or maybe we have a hard time letting down our guard and playing make believe.
The next time you wonder if you can play super heroes one more time, remind yourself of the benefits that will come from playing with your children. (Keep reading for suggestions on how to stay sane while you play.)
Benefits of playing with our children.
- Children use play to learn. They make discoveries about the world around them.
- Play time gives your child a opportunity to develop their imaginations. They can be a superhero, princess, puppy dog or fireman. All in the same day if they want. When our son was young he went through a phase where every week he pretended to be a different animal. We would research all about what the animal ate, where it slept and how it behaved. Once our son felt like he had learned all he could about the animal, he would move on to the next one. This helped develop his imagination (and he learned a lot too.)
- Experimenting through play helps our children figure out what they are good at. Finding things we are good at builds confidence and increases our self-esteem. Research shows that kids who play have more confidence in themselves and higher self-esteem.
- Play teaches our children to control their emotions.
- Play teaches our children socializing skills. It gives them a chance to share, cooperate, take turns and learn to handle winning and loosing.
- Kids who play have better communication and language skills. Talking to dolls, to you and to their superheroes help build these skills.
- Kids feel strong when they play. It gives them a chance to accomplish things and they can be heard chanting “Mommy, look what I made”! “Mommy look what I can do”!
- Kids develop fine motor skills and hand eye coordination when they play. Using crayons blocks and puzzles, as well as dressing dolls and snapping on clothes and capes, help with these skills.
- Playing helps our children stay active and healthy.
- Playing teaches our children to solve problems. When the roof wont stay on the fort, they have to problem solve. When they draw pictures and play fireman, it causes them to figure out how to make things work.
- Playing with our kids when they are young, develops trust, and opens lines of communication that we need as they get older.
Play hard but not necessarily long. Giving your child all you have in short spurts is better for you and for your child, instead of pretending for hours that you are interested in the game. Our kids know when we are faking it so it is more important to be in the moment. When you need to move on, it is okay. It will mean more to them to know you are fully invested, and you will feel better about the time you have spend together also.
Watch your attitude. We need to have a good attitude about playing with our children. WE LOVE THEM. We want them to be happy. We want them to learn and grow and develop. In stead of thinking of ourselves and enduring the experience, think about your child and it will be a lot easier to bark like a dog with them.
If it is hard for you to follow your child’s lead, then you choose the activity. Most of the time, kid don’t care what they play, they just want to play with us. Pick something you like to do and do it together. I love to color. It is one of my most favorite things to do. When we are on our third round of “Don’t Break the Ice”, and I am wearing thin of the activity, I suggest we color. They are always excited and I am too.