MUMMedia | Parenting & Popular Culture

Parenting through play

dad and son

Some of the most precious moments we will have with our children are during play.

Well, that’s what I tell myself during frustratingly drawn out games of hide and seek, games of mummies and daddies where I have to play the cat or ‘concerts’ that involves half an hour of observing ‘stunts.’

Play provides opportunity for us to connect meaningfully with our child

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou

Playing with our children validates who they are and shows them that they are valuable, important and worth the time and effort. They will never forget how we made them feel!

Play provides opportunity for us to teach and encourage our child

Many times I’ve had the opportunity to encourage sharing, co-operation and kindness through play. “That was really kind of you to share that ball with your brother.” It is often through simplicity that there is profound impact on the developing child. They begin to understand that ‘kindness’ is rewarded instead of just greediness being punished. Play provides a wonderful opportunity to teach our children life lessons.

Play provides opportunity to address behavior

When we are confronted with undesirable behavior it provides an opportunity to encourage and model the correct behavior. Play may even be used (by us) to address behavioral concerns. The use of dolls or teddies in imaginative play can teach a child that it’s not nice to hit or tease, and we can teach new strategies of dealing with the behavior through “dolly.”

When we put aside our agendas just to be present with our children we really do reap a generous reward.  It is through this connection that we, as parents, are given an opportunity to teach, train and to equip our children for life.

Effective parenting doesn’t always happen through lectures. It comes through entering into our child’s world, learning to see things from their perspective and understanding more about who they are.

It comes through play.


Tara Force


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Comments ( 19 )

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  1. What a perfect Maya Angelou quotation to use for this topic! I think I need to put a post it note with that quote on my bathroom mirror so I can see it first thing each morning.

    I’m now following you on FB and Twitter :-)

  2. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama September 13, 2011 Reply

    Play is so developmentally important for kids – it’s how they work through their own fears, feelings, and problems too. If you haven’t read “Playful Parenting” by Larry Cohen, I’d recommend it!

  3. Kellie September 13, 2011 Reply

    So true! Being present with our children during their play gives us much more opportunity to connect and guide them.

  4. Adrienne September 13, 2011 Reply

    So true. I’ve seen playing with toys in order to act out various scenes work really well when I was a teacher!

  5. tree peters September 17, 2011 Reply

    I agree with this totally. And reading that Maya Angelou quote while thinking of my child is very enlightening.
    thank you.

  6. Lauren @ Hobo Mama September 18, 2011 Reply

    So very true! Play really is the way to communicate with kids.

    I keep meaning to use more role playing with dolls and action figures. I think it would be really meaningful.

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