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Playful Parenting - More than Just Fun and Games
Early childhood educators have called play "children's work". Many parents believe their children should be doing something more productive than merely having fun. But, actually, play fosters physical, emotional, intellectual and social development. Encouraging your child to play is vital for his development as well as his happiness.
What is Play?
The dictionary refers to play as recreation. Recreation is a very significant word in building and sustaining strong families. If you capitalize and hyphenate this important word it becomes Re-Creation. This is exactly what having fun with your family by playing games and sharing activities can do. Playing together can recreate your family. It can revitalize, rejuvenate and inspire with energy, life and laughter. It can offer the whole families another chance to connect on a level that you perhaps are not connecting on right now.
We frequently consider play only as the opposite of work, thus we can only have fun when the work is done. I propose that we incorporate play into work sometimes and other times we spend time re-creating ourselves before or after the chores have been accomplished. It is amazing how energized everyone will be after a game of tag in the yard. You will be astounded at how quickly the dishes get done when everyone knows it is a Monopoly or UNO night.
Use Imagination and energy to have fun
In past generations, kids learned to create fun by using personal resources-imagination and energy. We were outside running, jumping, building and creating for hours and hours. Our play usually ended only when our mothers called us in for dinner or a bath.
Today's child is generally programmed with a fully scheduled week of lessons and highly competitive adult managed and supervised sports. Any free time is spent passively watching television leaving little opportunity to develop creativity and initiative.
By establishing a time to "play" you are stimulating your children's creativity and imagination. Children who learn early to take initiative for providing their own entertainment are less likely in the future to depend on artificial stimulants to "turn themselves on."
Establish a Family Fun Night
Many of us are employed in highly stressful jobs and the list of stress-related illnesses grows daily. The more stressed and cranky we are, the less our children want to be around us. By planning quality time spent just fooling around with our kids, the whole family will come out a winner.
As the characteristics of the family have changed over the years with more mothers working outside the house and fathers expected to play a greater role in the child rearing, it is a perfect opportunity to incorporate with the whole family a special time. But how about the many step-families, one-parent families and transient families who move frequently and live far from extended family? This is a method for creating unity and making the most of time together.
The family unit defines who we are and shapes our character. It is in the family dynamic that we learn the important lessons of self-discipline, the art of compromise, cooperation, forgiveness, honesty and fair play. By sharing activities on a regular basis we can teach by example as well as with verbal and non-verbal clues. There is a sense of safety in learning life skills in the family setting and then incorporating them into the real world. We know we will always be loved, even if we do strike out or make a mistake or look foolish sometimes.
Many children are being raised by the television.
Oh sure, they might have moms and dads who pay the rent, fix the meals, and drive them to sports practice, but essentially they are learning their standards, morals and ethics from a 24 inch box in their bedroom or the family room.
Mary Pittaway, registered dietician who heads up the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program in our community has said "children spend eight hours sleeping, two hours eating, five hours at school, 6 hours watching TV, less than one hour in physical activity, three hours engaged in other activities and five minutes in meaningful conversation with their parents on any given day."
Kids who spend too much time in front of a TV or video game are at risk for a great many health concerns, especially type II diabetes, which is skyrocketing among young children. Overweight children are more vulnerable to high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, asthma, and bone and joint problems.
What happens when children don't have play time?
The most devastating result of inactivity and obesity in our children is an emotional cycle of low self-esteem. The less they like themselves, the less likely they are to participate in sports or be active physically-the very thing that could help them. We can lecture them about the benefits of activity, but they will listen and participate more readily if the whole family is involved and it doesn't single them or their problem out.
For a free report on "Helping Your Child Fit In" go to my website www.ArtichokePress.com. In that report you will find that one of the major problems facing left out kids is the inability to play with others. Many classroom and playground problems of fitting in, being clumsy, perceptual-motor skills, social and emotional inadequacies, may be prevented or lessened by parents developing a time to do movement activities, which means in common language, play with their infants and children on an on-going basis.
Will play help your child succeed in life?
The games and activities you share as a family does not automatically guarantee better communication, healthier bodies and minds or a close-knit family. However, being available, approachable, and willing to step out of your comfort zone will insure a higher chance of children who succeed in life.
All of these activities are just vehicles to bring you and your child into close contact for a period of time where barriers are down and talking and laughing are up. Conversations and meaningful dialog will follow, maybe not right away, but kids recognize that you are willing to relax and spend time with them.
They don't want you as a pal but they do need you as a friend. Best friends play, laugh and hang out together frequently. They build bonds of loyalty, respect and love that last forever. Playful parenting is more than just fun and games. Come on; let's go kick the ball around the back yard.
© 2005 www.ArtichokePress.com
Parent educator and PBS "Ready to Learn" consultant, Judy H. Wright works with Head Start staff, child care resource centers, schools and parent organizations internationally. As a powerful and popular presenter for adults who work with children, Judy's also authored over twenty books. For more information on books, clients and testimonials or to book Judy for your next event, call 1-877-842-3431 or go to www.ArtichokePress.com. She is a founding member of Montana Speakers Network and is a regional representative for National Association for Women Writers.
Teaching Problem Solving Skills to Children with ADHD
Even though the "Stop and Think" movement in ADHD treatment has lost some momentum lately, the basic strategies and techniques are still worth teaching your children. My favorite version of the technique it the "Five Step Problem Solving Strategy," and it goes something like this.
Maximizing Your ADHD Childs Performance in School.
As a parent there are lots of things that you can do to help your child with ADHD succeed in school, with friends, and in life. Here are some tips for you that just may help you in your ongoing efforts to help your child.
Frequently Asked Questions About Reading To Your Child
Are you worried about your child's reading habits? Perhaps you feel he or she should be starting to read, but they have no interest in books whatsoever? I had the same problem with my son. Gosh, he would rather chew on 'The Big Book of Nursery Rhymes' than read a word from it! Here's a short list of questions which I find very relevant if you're concerned about your kids' reading habits.
Water! Water Everywhere!
What one word best sums up summer fun? Water. I bet your favorite memories as a child involved getting wet, running through sprinklers on a sweltering afternoon, water fights in the backyard, wading at the beach, playing on the slip & slide, and skipping rocks across the river.
Attaboy! Encouraging Phrases That Build Confidence
Home, home on the range, Where never is heard A discouraging word And the skies are not cloudy all day!Oh, that would be wonderful but most parents and bosses tend to feel that criticism and pointing out what is wrong will make others want to do what is right. However, people cannot improve unless they feel good enough about themselves to believe they are capable of improvement.
So, My Child Has Been Recommended for Testing - What Do I Do Now?
You've just received a call from your child's teacher. As your blood pounds in your ears, you hear her explain how she has noticed your child having difficulty with some academic subject in school.
Starting School - What Age Should Children Begin School?
"What age should my child start school?"This is a common question that concerns many parents. It is complicated if your child's birthday happens to fall near a closing date for new school enrolments.
The Forgotten Secret of the Ancient Greeks that Shows Us How to Keep Our Teenagers Out of Trouble
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up (Ecclesiastes 3:1-3) Four of the boys at training tonight are preparing themselves for their first fight at our forthcoming Christians vs. Lions promotion, scheduled for only three weeks hence.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Results of the Spanking Poll on Rexanne.com: Voters - 233Percentage of readers who do not spank their children: 37%Percentage of readers who spank their children: 62%~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I am completely opposed to spanking.
When Parents Disagree
Moms and dads, are there times you think that parenting would be easier if you didn't have to make family decisions? Having a partner that is not in agreement with your parenting ideas or discipline approaches is more than just frustrating. It can be a cause of division in even the best of relationships.
Blended Families Can Be Successful
Many families today are blending members from past relationships. It would be easy to give up when faced with all the conflicting methods of parenting and discipline that come to a family who has joined forces together.
Send the Kids Outside!
Think back to your own childhood. Chances are, some of your fondest memories are of outdoor activities and places.
Your Kids Career - Whose Choice?
A strange thing happened to me today. Or more precisely, a strange thought occurred.
Parents and Children Working Together
When parents help their children learn to read, they help open the door to a new world. As a parent, you can begin an endless learning chain: You read to your children, they develop a love of stories and poems, they want to read on their own, they practice reading, and finally they read for their own information or pleasure.
Help Your Child Do Better in School
1. Create a personal schedule Recording everything that must be done on a calendar or "to do" list will help him to keep track of important dates and deadlines.
Picky Eater Syndrome
'Picky Eater' is a label coined to describe the phenomenon that someone has discerning taste preferences different from their parents or others. These discerning taste preferences are dictated by their blood and body type.
Parenting Your Teenager: The Bottom Line Issues
Q. When you consult with a family with teens, what are the typical bottom-line issues?A.
The Secrets To Improving Childrens Behaviour
Most parents at some stage are driven to distraction by one or more of their children's annoying habits or behaviours, whether it is a toddler who continually whines, a school-aged child who leaves clothes lying around or a teenager who uses a less than pleasant vocabulary.How to affect change is a challenge for many parents.
Planning the Ultimate Kid Birthday Party
Child Party Planning Guideline #1)Pick the ThemeYour child is going to look forward to their birthday months before it arrives. Starting from their last birthday and after every friend's birthday they attend through the year, they will continuously ask the same question, "Is it my birthday tomorrow?" Let them know how important their birthday is and make sure they are apart of the planning process.
Cyber Parenting 101
Many parental units are not "techies" and openly admit they are not. They seem to use that as an excuse to not be informed and "trust" their children to do what is right in an environment that is clearly risky.
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