As adults, we might not think much about “playing,” or its importance. For a child, however, playing is a natural form of communication, learning, and growing.
While your child can get a lot out of playing on their own or with friends, family play time is just as important for a variety of reasons.
Unfortunately, many parents don’t take the time to actively play with their kids as a family. If you don’t, you and your child could be missing out on some important lessons and opportunities for growth.
So, why is family play time so important?
Increases Your Family Bond
One of the biggest benefits of playing together as a family is to strengthen your bond with your child. It nurtures the relationship you already have and makes it even better.
Some parents have more of a natural bond with their children than others. Yet, it never hurts to strengthen that relationship as much as possible.
When your child was born, you probably bonded with them in a different way. You held them constantly, you woke up in the middle of the night to feed and change them, etc. Now that they’re older and able to play on their own, re-building and strengthening that bond is just as important.
Creates a Safe Learning Space
Playing together will make your child feel safe. It also gives them a chance to learn (and you a chance to teach). They can comfortably express themselves and their emotions. Plus, you can learn more about them in the process.
When you let your child decide how you’ll play, you’ll end up learning more about them than you ever thought possible!
Because playtime is such a natural thing for most children, it’s a great way to observe their personality. You might even observe the way they act around others when you’re playing with them.
The more you play with your child, the more you’re helping them to understand the importance of a trusting relationship.
These types of relationships focus on honesty and open communication. That’s easier for a child to do when they’re playing because they feel safe. They’re less likely to feel intimidated by something such as a serious conversation or multiple questions.
If your child goes to preschool or daycare, they’re going to run into social scenarios from time to time that they may have trouble with. Or, maybe they have trouble making friends at these places.
Family play allows you to work through these social interactions with your child. You can practice by pretending and turning it into a game.
While it’s still fun for your little one, you’re actually teaching them how to interact with other kids their own age in the process.
How to Participate in Family Play Time
There really isn’t a “right” way to be more involved in family play time. You don’t have to play certain games or use certain toys. The most important thing you can do is to be present with your child.
Pay attention to the way your child plays, and encourage them to use their imaginations. When they feel safe and trusting, it will strengthen your bond. Thus, allowing you to learn more about them than you would through a conversation.
Family relationships are essential when it comes to your child’s development. When you play together as a family, you’re not just “having fun,” you’re helping to pave the way for your child’s social, emotional, and cognitive skills in the future.
Get the whole family involved with playtime as much as possible. Even a few uninterrupted minutes of playing with your child on a regular basis can make a world of difference. To get 25 of our best family play ideas, and a calendar to schedule your playtime, sign up below!