Playing with children has always come so naturally to me that I never realized that it’s not something that feels natural to MOST parents! It’s only once I had my nephews and observed closely to their interactions with their parents that I truly realized that this is a challenge to most adults!
Play is SUCH an important part of wellness. For our children, play is learning, exploring relationships, connecting with others, building skills, etc…. the list is endless! This is such a rich opportunity to bond with our children!
When we play with our children, they feel connected to us. In these moments we are no longer the parent who tends to take on the role of the authority placing demands on them. We give them the message that we truly enjoy spending time with them. It builds a strong connection both ways. Then, when you do place demands on them, they are most likely to follow through, because you both want to please each other.
Parents don’t always realize that they talk at their children almost all the time. They are almost always placing one demand after another instead of spending quality time in each other’s presence and having fun together!
Playing with your child doesn’t mean taking them to soccer practice, taking them to a playdate and staying at the playdate. It means actively participating in play!
Many parents will tell me that they don’t know how to play, or “I grew up with sisters I don’t know how to play with little boys.” Take it from an expert of playing with children. You do not need to know how to play. You just need to be PRESENT and in the moment! Show genuine interest; you are not there to entertain your child and be fun! That’s not what kids are looking for. They want to feel your presence and that they will soak up. This is how the bonding happens, this is how they feel seen, heard, and validated. This is how they know that they truly matter and that you love spending time with them.
Suggested games that are kid favorites and easy to play with all age levels:
- Pop Up Pirate
- Don’t break the Ice
- Pop the Pig
- Shark Bite
- Greedy Granny
Your child gives you the opportunity every day to play! What are you waiting for, go have fun?!