WHY PARENT AND CHILD PLAY IS IMPORTANT!
My son seemed different off late. Pensive, quiet and non-communicative. This was quite a contrast to his normal robust personality. To compound to this, the “I don’t want Papa, I want Mama” chant was looping longer than we could accept. We sensed something amiss and needed to investigate.
Snuggled in bed at night (this is usually a beautiful time for me to communicate with my child) I brought it up. His absolutely unfaltering response was “I am upset with Papa. He has not played with me since days.” Was I surprised to hear this? No. Did I expect this? No. Was I glad he said it? Oh Yes!
My husband has always been the best playmate that R and baby I have had. I’m afraid to confess but in the last couple of days my family has fallen prey to the seemingly trending rut of over-worked parents and my husband’s absence in the house is big. This has consequently resulted in a major component of my kids lives being compromised.
We can credit ourselves for belonging to the generation of parents that is always on the go, almost always stressed, short of time and pre-occupied. Many might find indulging in parent-child play a waste of time! The omnipresent Ipads, the high configuration laptops, the fancy play dates with meticulously structured activities and the damn popular Cartoon Network; all these have been brought in to replace the irreplaceable parent and child play time.
It is time to think this through.
One in five parents say they have forgotten how to play with their children, with a third admitting that taking part in games and activities with their family is boring, according to research. (http://www.theguardian.com/)
Mother-O-Pedia’s Two Cents: Stop watching your child playing. Go join your child.
Get on the floor and do it with him. Dance with him. Laugh with him. Pretend with him.
Why Mom And Dad Both Need Individual Parent And Child Play Time
Fathers are known to indulge the child in more physical play. My son spends the most part of his time with his father having boxing matches. My daughter rides him as a horse! Mothers on the other hand spend a larger part of their time engaging in verbal and instructive play. Both these styles of play are crucial to a child’s development. Excelling in sports without the ability to express is not the ideal situation nor would one benefit from experiences where a child only talks and does not like to experience things by hand. As the child grows, the age appropriate tweaking in playing needs to be made by both parents.
(Click here to read about How Fathers’ Style of Parenting Benefits Their Children’s Development.)
Tips On How To Play With Your Child
- Keep plenty of time on hand.
- Let your child take the lead in the game while making sure that it is safe and in control.
- Allow your child to steer the direction of the game.
- Listen to him and try not to instruct.
- Encourage the child’s thinking with open-ended questions and talk to him about what he is doing. “What do you think will happen now that the solider is wounded? Who is going to guard the city?” “If you had three wishes what would you ask for?”
- Be open to experimenting and mistakes.
- Appreciate your child’s effort when deemed fit.
What To Play With Your Child
- The evergreen classic- Read Stories
- The musicals- Sing songs and Rhymes
- The all time favourite- Hide and Seek. My 16 month old loves this just as much as my 5 year old. Obviously, the level of challenge has to be different for both.
- Observe together- Go for a walk. Listen for chirps of birds, growl of car engines, talk about surfaces, collect leaves and don’t make it a lesson. Just enjoy.
- Dressing up fun – Just pretend. Allow your child to allot roles. Don capes, wear masks, build forts.
- Precious parks- Swing. Climb walls, Kick balls and munch out of food hampers.
- At the pool- Great source of fun and refreshment.
- Music must be there- Play your child’s favourite song and join in the dance.
- Read together- Walk through the wonderful stories with your child.
Mommy’s Food For Thought: Have fun with your child. It is vital to your child’s development.