Thursday, February 15, 2007

Play with Your Child - it Benefits Them AND You!

In our busy hectic lives, it can be hard to work in play time with our children. To properly grow and learn, children need to actively play. By playing with our children, we can make sure they gain everything they need from play.

Physical activity
While you want to let your child choose what they do and how they do it during play time, you can help encourage them to choose healthy physical activities. If they want to play a game, suggest hide and seek, tag, or anything else that will get them up and moving. Play also helps to support physical development. If a child sits in front of a T.V. all day, they’ll never develop their hand eye coordination, balance, or other physical abilities as well as they should.

Important bonding time with parents
There is nothing more important in building a child’s self-esteem and feeling of safety than bonding with a parent. If a child knows that their parent is there for them, they’ll grow up to feel safer and more secure in the world around them. You may think it’s just talking and spending time with your child, but to them it’s the feeling of being loved and protected.

Getting more personalized help with issues
If allowed to direct their own play, a child will re-enact situations that he or she finds important. They may also use play time to vent emotional frustrations that they probably can’t describe verbally yet. By paying attention to your child’s behavior during play, you can determine what their concerns and frustrations are. Once you know the problem, it’s a lot easier to deal with and fix.

While playing with your child is obviously beneficial to them, it can also help you out as well.

Get to know your children
Many parents of teenagers say that they know little or nothing about their child. A good way to know them is to start while they’re still young and work to keep it as they grow. Playing regularly with your children now may actually help you worry less about them when they’re older.

Helps you relax
When children play, they create imaginary worlds and situations. If you are actively involved in your child’s imaginary worlds, it can help you forget the stress of the real world.

Promotes physical activity
We all know how hard it is to stay active when there are deadlines to meet, bills to pay, and everything else to do. If we strive to keep our children active through play, we will end up being active with them.

Playing with your child is as simple as setting aside a block of time everyday. It may be difficult to rearrange your schedule, but it will be well worth it for you and your child.

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