“All school and no play makes Maanit a dull boy”; my 6 year old reminds me each time I ignore his demands of playing with him☺. I agree that children need to be allowed time to play alone, so that they can enhance their creativity. Yet, playtime, specifically involving parents, is immensely important for our kids.
Our children’s’ faces light up; their eyes start to twinkle, the moment we get down on our knees, and enter their ’play world’; isn’t it? Yes, they crave for time spent with us, especially in this fast paced life, where our entire day is spent juggling between work and home. It makes them feel special, privileged.
Let us look at a few playtime activities that we can indulge in, with our little ones. I am absolutely certain that you would enjoy yourself as much (maybe more) as your child:
- Pretend play is a lot of fun. Let your child develop the plot or the idea, and then weave the activities around it. Let your guards down, people….act silly….giggle, and laugh! Just play along with your child. For e.g. my son takes out all his action figures and we make 2 teams, the good and the evil. The good finally wins over the evil. So learning and play go hand-in-hand.
- Develop a love for the outdoors. Go out for a run with your kids, race with them, play football. Exercise and play complement each other beautifully. Your kid with love it. Plus, her motor skills would develop better. Allow her to inculcate good sporstpersonship. Play in the mud…yes…you will love it; make mud cakes. You can even cycle around, basking in the glories of nature with your child.
- If you would rather be indoors, particularly during the rains, your child would enjoy board games. Playing games like chess and monopoly help the child to think and calculate and then move ahead. It also teaches her that winning and losing are 2 sides of the same coin and that the outcome of any competition is not as important as participation.
- Play games like spin-a –yarn; ask your child to create her own story. Let her explore the realms of her imagination. Read out stories to each other, with the appropriate intonation and voice modulation.
- Finish a craft project together. Organise a drawing competition with a prize for the winner. Solve puzzles. The idea is to enjoy each and every moment spent together ☺
- Pretend to host a TV show. My son loves to ‘air’ his TV show, based on the series ‘MAD’. It is amazing to see how well he conducts it. You can encourage your child to do something similar. This process will make her more confident, expressive and will hone her communication skills.
When you play with your child, the parental bond gets further strengthened. It opens the doors to effective communication and your child knows that you are there for her always. She knows she is the centre of your universe and feels loved, appreciated and totally secure. This has a positive impact on her self esteem. It works beautifully for us, too. We realise the potential and uniqueness of our child. We, too, feel loved and stress free.
So Parents, let us reconnect with our childhood, through our children☺