Being Playful with your Child

The responsibility of parenthood can often distract from the importance of being playful with your child. Amongst all of the responsibilities and demands of daily life, where is there time to be playful? And as easy as it is to watch this fall to the bottom of the priority list, being playful with your child not only brings joy and laughter into the home but nurtures strong bonds and plays a crucial role in your child’s development.

One of the strongest connection points between a parent and child is fostering a relationship of safety and comfort – and children often let their walls down through play. Therefore, play allows you to connect with your child on their level. It creates opportunities for meaningful interaction, where you can truly understand their thoughts, feelings, and imaginations. These shared experiences forge emotional bonds that build trust and security. The trust your child builds in you through playful parenting will translate towards their trust of you in all circumstances.

Playfulness doesn’t just benefit children. If you’re frustrated, feeling like you’re just not connecting with your child, taking a step back and engaging in play will help relieve stress and anxiety. Both you and your child can benefit from the decision to get out of your head and into your body, bringing you closer together.

Now, prioritizing play is easier said than done. In this busy world, it can be difficult to find the time to play with your child while also maintaining the boundaries of being their authority figure. Below are some ways to integrate play into your everyday life:

Incorporate Play into Chores

Turn everyday tasks into playtime. Folding laundry can become a “sock matching” game, cooking dinner can become a cooking show and tidying up toys can involve a timed cleanup race. Begin incorporating play into your tasks to teach your child a balance of fun and responsibility.

Redefine Quality Time

Quality time doesn’t have to mean a whole day at the amusement park. While extended quality time is important, it’s not practical every day. Short bursts of intentional time playing can be just as valuable. Dedicate even 15-30 minutes after work to fully engage with your child in an activity they love. Consistent allotments of this time, while short, will matter to your child and are a great way to maintain connection.

Daily Rituals

Start or end the day with a playful ritual. Whether it’s a silly dance party in the living room, a toothbrushing party, or a cozy story-time in bed, these small moments can begin and end your day and your child’s day in a positive light. You may even find incorporating play will make the arguments of getting ready for school or bed a little bit easier.

Utilize Free Time

While we don’t always have ample free time, utilize the opportunities where free time pops up. Instead of leaning on technology or productivity, use this time to prioritize play. Get outside and explore some woods with your kid or even give them the chance to choose how you spend a free afternoon! Incorporating spontaneity into your relationship will build connection.

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