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  • Ally Monarch

Parenting: The Importance of Play With Your Child

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

As parents, our schedules are filled with endless tasks from doing laundry and packing lunches, to helping with homework and giving baths. There are days we feel as though we accomplished nothing and then have to get up and start all over again! Adding in just one more activity to our already booked schedules may feel like the tipping point, but I am going to ask you to try something for 5-10 minutes each day that is not only beneficial for your child, but also for your relationship with them! I am asking that you create space to play with your child each day. I know I know….play is the last thing on the task list, but let me share with you why this is so important.

Setting aside consistent play time with your child is more important than you may realize. As adults, we connect with our family and friends through verbal conversation. When we feel listened to and validated, we feel seen and known. For a child, their connection with you will be developed during your play time. This is the time that they feel the least encumbered and restricted. During play your little one will be able to explore their world with you and open up about their thoughts and ideas.

Our young ones are in a world where they have very little choice, many decisions are made for them. In school they are provided with a strict routine of where to sit, when to speak, and when to eat. At home, we also have routines and schedules that our children need to adhere to as well in order to keep the house functioning. During play, the possibilities are endless and there are no strict rules on how to play and engage.

Playing with your child in a way that allows them to feel seen and known by your validation as a parent will create a healthy framework for a secure attachment. The time you set aside to play with your little one, and the praise and enthusiasm you provide them while you play, will begin to change the relationship with your child and create space for other challenging behaviors to be addressed.

I know I am making this sound easy, but trust me, it is not, and I know it is not first hand. There are many times play gets set aside in my own home because other tasks have filled its place. I also know that there may be other behaviors preventing play from being enjoyable or maybe even occurring, and if that’s the case then there is help. PCIT, or Parent Child-Interaction Therapy, is an approach that aids you as the parent to find more enjoyable ways to play with your little one and also learn healthy ways to enforce discipline that increases compliance. This is an evidenced based practice, which simply means it is proven to work!! You cannot say that about many things in life, but this is one of them.

Next week I will delve into the importance of boundaries in the home and how to implement them in an effective way.

Please schedule a free consultation if you have further questions or schedule your first PCIT session with me today using this link.

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