Things to do
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Lets have fun!
We’ve all been there. You come home at the end of a long day feeling exhausted. All you want to do is collapse on the couch and relax. And then, just as you sit down and take off your shoes, you hear: “Mummy! Daddy! Will you come play with me? Pretty please?!”
In that moment, playing with your child seems like a chore. But think of all the long term benefits—mentally, physically, and socially—for your child when they play and especially, when they play with you.
Benefits of Parent-Child Play
All children benefit from unstructured playtime with other children, including their siblings, and even playing by themselves. But there are special benefits that come from playing with a parent or other loving adults.
1. Play helps children develop all kinds of skills.
Playing with your child is one way to help him or her develop social skills and self-control. Children’s minds are like little sponges. They soak up everything around them. As they interact with parents and others, they learn how people behave in social settings. They also learn what’s acceptable by taking their cues from you.
While kids develop many life skills playing with their siblings, you can offer your child more mature and varied forms of play. Because adults know more about the world, playing with the adults in their lives widens children’s imaginations in ways that playing with other children, even older siblings, does not.
2. Play helps build strong relationships.
Playing together is one of the most effective tools for building strong relationships with your child too. Play adds joy, vitality, and resilience to relationships. Through play, children learn to trust others and feel safe. Play and laughter perform an essential role in building strong, healthy parent-child relationships by bringing you closer together, creating a positive bond, and resolving conflict.
3. Play is good for mom and dad’s health too.
It’s important to play with your child for your child’s sake. But, as an added bonus, you receive benefits from playing with your child too. The happy hormones are released whenever you engage in play which will help your overall wellbeing.
How to Play with Your Child.
If you’re not sure how to play with your child, don’t worry! Lots of parents feel a bit awkward or silly at first, playing pretend or engaging in childlike physical behaviour. All you really need to do to be a good playmate for your child is to listen to their stories, support their chosen mode of play, and engage in conversation.
Allow your child to explore their environment and sensations. Let them draw you in. Then be engaged and collaborate, which will teach your child to do the same in their future interactions.
Looking for some new ideas for playing with your child? You don’t need expensive toys or gadgets to play. Here are a few simple ideas to help get you playing!
- Sorting toys: learning about numbers, shapes, and grouping objects.
- Puzzles: learning about shapes, sizes, and numbers.
- Pretend play and dress up: social and emotional development.
- Storytelling: learning about and developing language skills.
- Throwing and catching: motor skills, physical development.