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How To Play With Your Children
It’s something we all have experienced. It’s exhausting to come home after a long day. You just want to relax and collapse on the couch. Just as you’re about to get up, you hear “Mommy!” Daddy! Would you like to play with me? Please? !”
Playing with your child can seem like a chore in that moment. Think about the long-term benefits that your child will experience when she plays, especially when she does it with you. If you continue reading, we bet you will reconsider saying no to your child’s next request.
The Benefits of Parent-Child play
Unstructured playtime is beneficial for all children. This includes their siblings and even the time they spend playing alone. There are unique benefits to playing with your parent or other loving adults.
1. Play is a great way for children to learn new skills.
You can help your child develop social skills and self-control by playing with him/her. Children’s minds can be likened to sponges. Children absorb everything around them. They learn from their parents how to behave in social situations. You can teach them what is acceptable behavior.
Research has also shown that parent-child play and physical play are linked to the development of specific skills, such as:
Gross motor skills,
Regulation of emotions
Peer group leadership skills.
While children learn many of these skills while playing with their siblings and parents, they also develop more mature and diverse forms of play. Playing with adults expands children’s imaginations because they know more about the world than children do.
Child development studies have shown that infants and pre-schoolers are more likely to engage in behaviors that require a partner while playing with their parents than they are when playing with their siblings. This is logical. Your child wants to interact with you. While playing with other children can be fun, nothing beats the satisfaction of getting your parent into your world of fantasy. It’s the stuff that creates memories!
2. Play is a great way to build strong relationships.
Playing with your child is one of the best ways to build strong relationships. Play brings joy, vitality and resilience to relationships. Play can help to heal hurt, resentments and disagreements. Children learn to trust other children and feel safe through play.
You can increase the quality of your interactions with your children by making an effort to include humor and play in your day. This will help you connect with them on a deeper level. Play and laughter play an important role in building healthy, strong parent-child relationships. They bring you closer together and create a positive bond.
3. It’s good for dad and mom’s health, too.
Playing with your child is important for their sake. Playing with your child can also be a bonus. When parents and children play affectionately with one another, the hormone oxytocin is released.
You might think of it as a relaxing massage for your mind that you don’t have to pay for the next time you are too tired to play with your child. It’s a massage for your mind, but you don’t have to spend any money!
Playing with Your Child.
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure how to play with your child. Many parents feel awkward and silly at first. They may play pretend or engage in childlike behavior. To be a good friend to your child’s play, all you need to do is to actively watch, listen, support and engage in conversation.
You should encourage and support each other’s interaction, but not interfere or control the conversation. Your child should be free to explore the world around him. Let him draw you in. Engage and collaborate with him, which will help your child in the future.
Are you looking for new ways to play with your child? These tips are from the Women and Children’s Health Network.
Sorting toys Learning about numbers, shapes and grouping objects.
Puzzles: Learning about Shapes, Sizes, and Numbers.
Dress up and pretend to play: emotional and social development.
Storytelling: Learning about and developing language skills.
Throwing and Catching: motor skills, development of the body.
This one-on-one session will allow you to help your child develop skills she can use on her own.
We might suggest…
Looking for an exciting way to have fun with your family and support EFC? Pinwheels Family Fun Day will be held on April 15th. Every spring, the Exchange Family Center and Wheels Fun Park bring families, friends, and the entire community together for this incredible event. Enjoy batting cages and mini golf as well as roller skating and fun gym access.
Pinwheels proceeds go towards programs like the Family Assistance Program, which helped Ashley and Ms. Smith in the story below. These programs raise awareness about the importance of supporting families and teachers to help children become resilient.
How does EFC benefit families?
Ms. Smith accepted to be a part of the Family Support Program as she was concerned about Ashley, her 3-year-old daughter’s difficult behavior.
Ms. Smith said that Ashley was often unable to control her emotions and was aggressive toward her mother and siblings. Ashley was unable to follow instructions and would throw tantrums, banging her head against a wall and biting and scratching at herself.
Ms. Smith was overwhelmed and visibly upset during the initial assessment. Ms. Smith cried through the session and said she felt “hopeless” about managing Ashley’s behavior and supporting her.
Ms. Smith learned therapeutic play skills that have helped her improve her relationship with Ashley. Ms. Smith has been able to create special play time for Ashley every day and meets regularly with EFC’s Family Therapist and Parenting Coach to answer questions and improve her skills.
Even though she is still very early in the program Ms. Smith said that Ashley has made significant improvements in her demeanor by learning about positive attention and behavior and making it a part of her everyday life. Ms. Smith called Ashley “a different child” and stated that Ashley has dramatically reduced her difficult behaviors. Ms. Smith said that therapy is a great way to make a significant change and she looks forward to the completion of the program.
Ms. Ashley and Smith learned from their parents how special playtime can strengthen the bond and teach emotional and social skills. We are proud to help Ashley’s family and love to support them!
Local families can also be supported and you can share the joys of play with your family. Pinwheels Family Day is a win-win for both families and the community. Won’t you join us? has everything you need, including a link for purchasing tickets.
25 FUN WAYS TO PLAY MIT KIDS
Grab a piece of paper or a dry-erase board, and have fun playing hangman with your children.
This simple game helps children learn to spell and decode words. This game is educational and entertaining at the same time.
We love to add variations such as “Noah’s Ark” freeze-tag and “Fruit’ freeze-tag, where everyone must name an animal or fruit to prevent them from being frozen.
PLAY “Hide and Seek” — IN THE DARK.
Hide and seek is a favorite game of our children. It’s even more fun when it happens at night. Play in a safe place with flashlights.
Play! You can have lots of fun and it’s easy to do.
MAKE PAPER AIRPLANES.
These simple planes are a favorite among boys and girls. You can race the finished product!
PLAY with BALLOONS!
Balloons can be used to play many fun games. For more ideas, see this post
PLAY “NAME THE TUNE.”
You can hum, or bang out the notes of a tune you love. You can even sing Christmas carols in this simple, but a beloved game!
You can make a simple collage from old magazines.
Take pictures and cut them out. Use washi tape, stickers, and glitter to make your pictures stand out.
You can make it as simple or as complex as you want!
PUT ON A PUPPET SHOW.
Get some socks and stuffed animals, and hide behind a couch to put on a silly show!
Your children can take turns, so make sure that everyone stands up and applauds!
ACT OUT A BOOK STORE.
My children surprised my husband and me one day and asked us to get down. Then they began to act out the birth of Jesus.
It was amazing to see how many things they had learned from the Bible.
You can choose Noah’s Ark and make stuffed animals or feed the 5,000 using paper fish and baskets. There are many options for this activity.
TAKE A TREASURE HUNT.
Who doesn’t love a good hunt?
Make a simple map with prizes or print this scavenger hunt printable.
It will be great to see the children work together to find the treasure.
Get outside to collect leaves, rocks, and other specimens.
Discuss the differences and colors among the items.
Encourage each member of the family to search for the most unusual item.
HAVE A RACE.
The racers are our munchkins, from the youngest to the oldest.
There are running races, biking races, hopping races as well as crawling and backward races.
COOKIES TO EAT WITH YOUR KIDS.
Baking is something you might not like to do, but your children will!
Let them measure, mix, and crack eggs.
WIN A WATER FIGHT
Grab any water guns, buckets, buckets, or pitchers that are safe and hold water. Get ready to soak each other with water play clothes!
CAMPING — HOME!
You can camp out in your living room with tents and s’mores.
My kids spoke British and I gave my husband a facial and massage the last time we camped out.
Ah, the memories!
JUMP ROPE TOGETHER
Teach your children the jumping rope songs that you loved as a child, such as Teddy Bear, Bear, Teddy Bear Turnaround!
You can combine your exercise and playtime with your kids in one go! It’s pretty amazing!
RIDE A LONG BIKE OR WALK.
Children love to explore their backyards and homes on foot or by bicycle.
It’s safer and more fun to do it as a family.
FLY A KITE!
Mary Poppins was right when kite flying looked so much fun in the story she told!
Get a fun kite from, or create your own!
You can find a comfortable spot on the ground to search for strange shapes in the clouds.
It’s so simple, but it really makes you giggle!
PLAY MAD LIBS!
These are so funny! These are hilarious!
SING SILLY SONGS.
There’s A Hole in the Bucket Little White Duck, Baby Bumblebee – These are just a few of our favorite silly tunes!
These songs are often written with simple chords so that a guitarist or pianist can join the fun and provide some musical backing!
LEARN NEW HAND JIVES.
Make your own play dough It’s so much fun, and it’s a lot easier than you might think. This ice cream play dough only requires two ingredients and it smells amazing!
PLAY FUN BOARD GAMES.
Growing up, I still have fond memories of playing Life and Sorry with my grandmother.
Create memories with your children today. They’ll be able to connect with you long after they are grown up.