Play With Your Children

When was the last time you played with your child? I’m not talking about handing your daughter a lump of play dough while you cook supper or the random artillery of questions you fire mindlessly at your son while flipping through a magazine. I’m talking about all out, completely engaged, play.  Play is how children explore and make sense of their world. Forgot how to play? Here are some tips on how to play with your children.

Motherhood brings so many joys. From the first smile, to the first word, to the first steps… we are hooked. Life is forever changed once we have children.

However, take a moment to consider something… when was the last time you played with your child? I’m not talking about handing your daughter a lump of play dough while you cook supper or the random artillery of questions you fire mindlessly at your son while flipping through a magazine. I’m talking about all out, completely engaged, play.

Play is how children explore and make sense of their world. As the adults in our son’s and/or daughter’s lives, we miss out on some wonderful learning opportunities if we do not engage in play with our children. Forgot how to play? Here are some tips on how to play with your children.

Follow their lead

Whether your child is having a tea party and handing out the tea or pretending to be a doctor, follow their direction. If they want you to eat and drink at their “party” then do so. If they want you to be the nurse in their clinic, then play the role.

Observe their play

Be a keen observer. Watch how they interact with their dolls, how they speak while they play. Listen to the tone of their voice. Try not to correct or interfere. Sometimes we might hear our child articulating things we ourselves have said. Although you may be uncomfortable that your child is telling his or her dolls “I’m too busy”, you are getting a wonderful opportunity to glimpse into the world as they are experiencing and interpreting it.

Extend their play

While playing with your child, you may notice that they hit a peak or a plateau in their play. By playing with them, you may be able to extend the experience by providing extra materials. For instance, if your child is consistently having tea parties, you may want to add a toy stove and plates to the space. They may deepen their play by baking cookies for the tea party.

Extending play can also be done with infants. For example, if you observe your infant lining up blocks, you can take some blocks and demonstrate how to stack them.

Focus on your child completely

Treat the play time with your child as if it’s an important business meeting. Turn off your cell phone. Don’t check your e-mail. Give your child your undivided attention.

Schedule a time

It’s obviously unrealistic to play with your child all day long. Set some time aside every day to play with your child. You can even set a time limit. You can tell your child, “Mommy is going to play with you for half an hour and then I will go make supper”. However, make sure that you are engaged 100% with your child during that half hour.

Reflect on the play experience

If you have a moment, write down a few thoughts about the play experience you encountered with your child. Were there any surprises? What did you learn about your child? What did you learn about yourself? What would you like to do next time?

By playing with your child, you are supporting their exploration of the world in which they live. Now, let’s PLAY!

 

Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom
Former early childhood professional, now a stay-at-home-mom of two girls. I write about parenting, homeschooling, my faith, and personal life experiences. I'm striving to become the deliberate mom I long to be.
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom
@JanineHuldie Thanks so much for sharing! <3 - 53 mins ago
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

Latest posts by Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom (see all)

Comments

  1. Jen Crum says

    Fantastic article. Thank you so much. I shared this on Facebook, and plan to point several people toward it. Again, thank you.

  2. says


    Twitter handle:
    “Treat the play time with your child as if it’s an important business meeting.”

    This is what I need to get better at. I do leave my phone in another room, but my mind never shuts off. I’m thinking “I need to make a grocery list. Did I put that load of laundry in the dryer? I should really pay some bills.”

    My mind is always running at full speed. Ugh! I think the best solution is to make a plan, set a time, like you mentioned. I really need to get better at this. This time with them won’t last forever.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Dee Williamson recently shared this amazing post…Tray Jolie! Washi Tape & Mod Podge MakeoverMy Profile

    • says


      Twitter handle:
      I’m delighted you enjoyed this “undiscovered” post Dee (I published it almost 4 years ago… I think it was the second post I published here on The Deliberate Mom).

      Playing with children can be a challenge. As adults, so many things seem “more important”. However, there’s no better time to commit to playing with our children.

      Thanks again for visiting and commenting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge