Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why do I need to play WITH my kids?

A playing child is a working child.  The act of playing is what leads to children’s brain development and helps them figure out the world around.  Most events in an average day are new to children so they need to play in order to digest them all. Children “pretend” in order to make sense of what is happening to them.  Through play they learn self control, empathy, problem solving, confidence and creativity.   

So maybe you already knew children need to play but why do YOU need to play WITH your children? Children need to learn to play on their own but there are many reasons parents should play with their children.  Playing with your children allows you to enter their world.  By entering their world you are better able to understand their perspective.  This may lead you to greater insights about their behaviors and emotions that you would not have otherwise seen. It will give you ideas on how to meet their emotional needs and solve the problems they are unable to tell you about.

Children have a need for attention from the adults they are closest to.  (Mom, dad or another caregiver)  If they do not receive that attention from those individuals, they will begin acting in ways to GET your attention.  We call these behaviors bad but our children usually engage in them to get our attention. So by giving your child the positive attention through play time, those emotional needs, and many others, are provided for.  They have less reason to act “bad”.

The more we join them in their world, the more cooperative they will be when we drag them around our world.    Children do not get much say in where and when they go.  Let’s face it we dictate most of that for them.  From your children’s perspective it is difficult to be constantly told we have to go here, then here.  They do not get to choose what school they go to or when they will leave.  But when you engage with your children in play, they are more willing to follow your lead as far as daily activities go. 

There are times doing your job to keep your children safe and healthy cause your children to be unhappy and in pain. In doing this we create a disconnection with them.  It might be something like making them go to the dentist or disciplining them after a great offense.  If this disconnection is left alone it can affect the relationship long term.  Playing with your child is a natural remedy for this disconnection.  It is hard for children not to want to be around an adult when he or she is wanting to play and pretend with them.  

1 comment:

Sherri Boles-Rogers said...

Excellent article! When my children were young, I had so much fun exploring the world with them. It was like seeing everything through fresh eyes. They taught me a lot!
Thanks for the reminder Marcia.