Playing comes naturally to kids. Yet for us busy, tired, stressed-out parents it often can feel like the last thing we want to do or have time for.
What if I told you that being playful will actually help energise you? That play will foster closer and deeper connections with your child which will promote more cooperation and joy within your home!
I recognise and value the importance of FUN, PLAY and LAUGHTER in every family. Not only does playful parenting reduce stress, promote attachment, and increase enjoyment of parenting, it’s also really really beneficial for your child's development.
Here are some ideas that will help bring more play into your household:
1. Schedule it in – if play doesn't come naturally to you, set aside time for it. Tune into what your kids like to play & play with them. If your kids are old enough they can come up with a list of games you all like to play and write a different one on your calendar each week to ensure you make time to play. Soon enough, their joy of playing with you will also encourage your inner child to join the party!
2. Start your day with play – a quick game, dance around the kitchen or playful romp will be sure to start your day off great ! This fun way of connecting ,early on in your day, sets you all up for a marvelous day.
3. Be dramatic – kids love puppets and dramatic play. Develop some characters that will get your kids laughing. A gorgeous Dad I know likes to don a wig and walking stick and become “Naughty Nanna” – never fails to get his family laughing and feeling connected and happy.
4. Be SILLY – the sillier the better! Pretend to fall over, goof up, get confused, talk in gobbledygook. Follow your kids laughter!
5. Take a walk ( or skip) down Memory Lane – remember the games that YOU loved to play as a child & bring them back into your family. Kids love to hear stories about their parents as children – they will love even more to play the games you played “back in your day.”
6. Use play as a strategy – a strategy for those hard times in parenting . When your day is NOT going the way you planned, have a back up plan filled with playful ideas. A spontaneous pillow fight, a run around the house, pretending to turn into a statue – all these playful ideas ( though will be hard to think of in the heat of the moment ) can really change the direction of your moods.
7. Observe – take time out in your day just to watch your children play. Even for a moment or two. Do nothing else but simply be amazed at how incredible your child is and how wonderful play is.
8. Make the boring “jobs” fun – if you find it difficult fitting everything into your day, try combining things! Like play & chores. My kids love to hang off our clothesline throwing the clothes to me or into the basket or putting on music and setting a challenge to get a particular room tidy before the song finishes.
9. Put play to work – use it to help your kids understand your families rules & expectations. If you have to remind your kids to clean their rooms AGAIN- do it in a drill sergeants voice and ask them to stand to attention and follow your orders! If your child is refusing to get dressed go over to them and say in a playful way, “Oh, OK, I can help you with that I'm REALLY great at dressing people,” then put the clothes on all wrong , undies on their heads, socks on their hands. You'll be surprised how after some laughter has occurred how much more cooperative your children will be.
10. Prioritise play – not just with your kids but for YOU too. What makes your soul sing? Make a list of things that you love to do & do them.
Do you find play hard? This free list gives you 25 Ways To Be A More Playful Parent
Skye Munro is a Certified Hand in Hand Parenting by Connection instructor in Victoria, Australia. Skye is the mother of a son and a daughter and has 15 years experience as a Child Services Educator. You can connect with Skye on her Facebook page.