From West Dakota Parent & Family Resource Center
“There is a widespread belief in our society that the time parents and children spend playing together is frivolous and unproductive,” according to Carolyn Webster-Stratton’s book, The Incredible Years, A Troubleshooting Guide for Parents of Children Aged 2-8 Years. But in her book Stratton reminds parents that “play benefits children in many ways by providing opportunities for them to learn who they are, what they can do and how to relate to the world around them.”
Many adults think that children have the instinct to play without adult interaction. In reality, that is somewhat true. But without parental participation and coaching in play experiences, the initiative and creativity to play disappears, and in some cases may even result in an increase of aggression and peer to peer conflict.
Other benefits to playing with your child include:
- Solving problems, making decisions and testing ideas.
- Exploring imagination and increasing creativity.
- Developing responsibility.
- Developing a greater vocabulary and laying foundation for reading.
- Developing social and emotional skills for life success.
- Creating a positive self-concept and “can do kids”.
- Learning cooperation as parents cooperate with them in the context of play.
- Opportunities for children to have acceptable power with little choices.
What parents can do:
- Let your child lead the play. This is their territory.
- Don’t worry about the “right” way and all the rules. This is about the experience, the TIME with your child.
- Be present without distraction. When we play, we play!
- Laugh and have fun!
“Research shows that children who are active in pretend play and other types of play are usually more joyful and cooperative, more willing to share and take turns, more creative in their activities and have larger vocabularies than children who are less involved in imaginative play or other play activities. Play provides the foundation for learning in a child’s world and opens the door to a world of learning opportunities. You may have heard this: “Play is children’s work. If they are successful with this first job, it will lead to further success later in life.”
Support your children in their play. Understand the importance of play and how much your child is learning. Engage in play with your children and provide opportunities for them to interact with other adults and other children in play. Build towers, dance, sing, paint, run, and laugh and watch your child’s learning unfold.
What did you enjoy as a child? What does your child always ask to do? What will you play TODAY!
Spending T-I-M-E strengthens your family today for tomorrow. Spell love!
Call the West Dakota Parent & Family Resource Center at 701-456-0007 or toll free at 1-877-264-1142 to request or inquire about an “Incredible Years” parenting program near you.