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3 Great Reasons to Play With Your Kids

Most parents celebrate when the time finally comes that their kids will play independently or with a sibling. Finally – a few minutes of breathing room for mom and dad to get some things done around the house!

mother and son hugging photo

Independent play is important for a child’s development, however, it’s also important to make sure that we are playing WITH our kids on a daily basis.

Playing WITH a toddler may include throwing a ball or role-playing a “pretend” game. “Playing” with a teenager can be a game of backgammon or a round of Wii Golf. “Playing” is what ever the CHILD likes to do for fun.

Here are 3 great reasons to play WITH your kids…

1. Creating Emotional Connection: Much of the daily interaction between parents and children consists of “ordering, correcting and directing.” (“Don’t forget to drink your milk”, “it’s time to take a bath”, “stop hitting your sister”, etc.) When parents order, correct, and direct, they are in the “Parent Ego State” and this type of interaction often invites the “fight or flight” response in our kids, resulting in power struggles.

When parents play on the floor and have FUN with their kids – both the parent and child are operating in the “Child Ego State”. The “child” ego state is where emotional connections are made. It doesn’t require a long time to create emotional bonds – but being INTENTIONAL about spending PLAY time each day with your child in the “child ego state” will do wonders for strengthening the emotional connections.

mother and daughter playing outdoors photo

2. Fewer attention-seeking misbehaviors: When parents play WITH their children, they are PROACTIVELY filling the child’s attention basket in positive ways. Children have a hard-wired need for attention. If parents don’t provide sufficient POSITIVE attention, children will resort to negative behaviors to get it – whining, clinging, helplessness, sibling fighting, etc. When parents implement consistent playtime WITH their children – attention-seeking misbehaviors begin to fall off the radar screen!

3. More cooperative children! As parents fill attention baskets in POSITIVE ways and emotional connection increases, children consistently become MORE COOPERATIVE at other times during the day! When the child’s core emotional requirements for connection and attention are met, he doesn’t feel the need to “fight us” to get negative attention and is more cooperative when asked to do things throughout the day. It’s a beautiful thing!

About the Author

Amy McCready
Nationally recognized parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the best selling author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic - A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World and If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. As a “recovering yeller” and a Certified Positive Discipline Instructor, Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Amy is a TODAY Show contributor and has been featured on CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, Rachael Ray, Steve Harvey & others. In her most important role, she is the proud mom of two amazing young men.
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