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Fri, Dec 15, 2017 10:13 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
Playing with children a way to build relationship

The following article was submitted by Stephanie B. Conn, Martin County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences.

There are a number of good reasons to make time to play with your children part of your daily routine.

Playing with your children is a relaxed, easy way to learn about their interests, worries and skills. It’s a wonderful way to build relationships with your children as you share valuable communications and fun. Playing with them also gives children a fun way to learn skills that will prepare them for adulthood.

When playing with your children, be sure activities are based on what the children enjoy, whether its playing hide-in-seek, having a tea party, or blasting off in a space ship.

The more children experience, the richer and more varied their playtime becomes. Take them to see people, places and things and allow them to feel and experience the events by climbing onto the seat of the fire engine, petting animals at the fair, covering themselves with sand at the beach, and the like.

Adding playfulness and fantasy to everyday situations can help children relax and enjoy routines more. For example, make cleanup more enjoyable by playing games like flying the airplane back to the airport or seeing how many toys they can carry at one time.

One way to become more involved with your children is to start a sentence each person completes in turn. For example, it could be “The most surprising thing I learned today was,” or “One of the things I did well today was.” The sentence goes around until everyone has shared their experiences.

Playing with your children motivates them, teaches cooperation and trust and builds self-esteem, independence and self-suffiency. It also helps them get to know themselves and their world. Play continues to be important as children grow into teenage years and beyond.

There are many delightful ways to play with your children. A few of these are listed below. Use imagination and childrens interests to develop more ways to play with your children.

Play board games. These teach children to pay attention, take turns and that winning isn’t the most important thing in life. Rather, how you play and how much you enjoy the game are much more important.

Set aside an hour or two each week for family playtime. Let the kids take the lead on how to spend the time. This will build on their leadership skills and let them feel like they’re in charge for a change.

Have a “no television night” once a week; use the time to play games like charades, put on your own skits, or discuss what each person has been doing that week.

Make up stories with your children. Follow each child’s lead as you work together to make up imaginary characters. You never know where these adventures will take you.

Encourage outdoor or physical activities such as bike riding or swimming. You can join older children in a tennis or basketball game.

For more information on parenting, contact the Martin County Cooperative Extension Service at 298-7742.

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extensive Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, disability or national origin.

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