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.