3 Great Reasons to Play With Your Kids

Oh, the happy day it is when our children are old enough to play independently or with a sibling – right?

Breathing room! A few minutes to yourself!

FREEDOM (well, almost).

I get it! I’ve walked in those exhausted shoes! And it IS a wonderful thing when kids are independent enough to play on their own. And, it’s important for their development.

What’s also important, however, is to make sure we play WITH our kids on a daily basis.

You know…eye-to-eye, on the floor, forgetting about your to-do list, not having another care in the world except having fun with your child.

“Play” is whatever your child likes to do for fun. Toddler time can be tossing a ball, finger painting, or breaking out the blocks. Teen time might be a round of Uno, a turn at an Xbox game, or playing catch in the backyard.

In case you need a little convincing, here are 3 great reasons to play WITH your kids…

1. It’s a chance to create an emotional connection: Much of the daily interaction between parents and kids consists of “ordering, correcting, and directing.”

Drink your milk.
It’s time to take your bath.
Stop hitting your sister.
(Fill in your favorite here.)

When parents order, correct, and direct, they are operating from the “Parent Ego State” (telling someone else what to do) and this type of interaction often invites the “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 emotional connections. You’ll also create memories you’ll both treasure forever.

2. You’ll have fewer attention-seeking misbehaviors: When parents play WITH their children, they proactively fill 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 such as 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. You’ll have 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 or she doesn’t feel the need to “fight us” to get negative attention and is more cooperative when asked to do things throughout the day. Now that’s a beautiful thing!

Life gets busy – sometimes crazy busy –  and it feels like there’s not enough time left in the day to get it all done – play time included.

What I can promise you though…is that when you take just 15 minutes a day to fill up those emotional buckets for your kids – you’ll actually have MORE time, because you’ll be saving yourself from power struggles, sibling battles, chore wars and the rest!

How’s that for a win-win?

Learn the positive parenting tools to get more cooperation and less complaining – with no nagging, yelling or punishing from you! 

Join me for an upcoming FREE online class:  Get Kids to LISTEN Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling.

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.