Parents playing with their children used to be discouraged. Children once were expected to play a role in working in the home, whether through chores, taking care of siblings, working outside or helping provide for the family. Leisure time didn’t become standard for middle-class families until the 20th century. Even then, many discouraged mothers and fathers from playing with their children.
Of course, many families still implement chores into their children’s lives, but now, once chores are over, kids are open to the possibility of endless play. There are so many ways play has changed throughout the years, but one thing remains — play is a necessary part of childhood development, and parents spending time playing with their children has become more popular.
From the moment your child is born until they leave the coop, you should play with your kids. It provides a multitude of benefits for both you and your children. Though children need to learn to play independently, they love playing with others, too, especially those who care about them the most. Children love the time they get to spend with you while you play together. Here’s why you should play with your kids.
Provides a Way to Bond
When you show interest in your children’s activities and want to play with them, you can forge bonds nearly unbreakable with them. Children naturally build relationships with others through play. As a parent, you get a glimpse into their perspectives on life when you play, and the children see you’re making an effort to be part of their lives.
Your children will learn how to trust you further. They’ll cherish each moment you spend playing with them for years to come, strengthening the relationship you have with them.
Relieves Stress for You and Your Children
Being active and engaged in play is a great stress reliever for you and your children. Adults tend to focus on work and even bring the stressors from work home with them on occasion. Play is good, old-fashioned fun. When you and your children are engaged in a board game, playing tag outside or opening the world of pretend play, everything else in your mind disappears.
Give yourself permission to put a pause on the to-do list and have fun. You’ll feel so much better after spending time laughing and releasing energy with your children. Often, when you play, you’re getting some exercise, which reduces stress hormones and stimulates endorphin production.
Promotes Healthy Habits
Playing promotes healthy habits for you and your kids. One of the primary factors of play is getting outside. Being outdoors increases your vitamin D levels on sunny days. Plus, the fresh air can renew your mind as you toss a ball or play hopscotch.
Additionally, when you and your kids play, you release energy, making you more tired. However, that tiredness is good, and it can help you get to sleep faster and create a more regular sleep pattern. Playing is, in general, a healthy way to build your relationship with your child and encourage other mentally and physically healthy habits.
Helps Children Communicate Their Feelings
Children who haven’t yet built up a vocabulary may use playtime as a way to express their feelings. This is especially true for toddlers and preschoolers. Every day, they learn new words but may not be able to articulate their emotions through words. Therefore, they often feel frustrated that others around them can’t understand their feelings.
When you take time during the day to play with them, you’re allowing them to release their feelings of frustration in a non-destructive way. They can show their emotions and let go of them to feel happiness again. Without play, your children will bottle up their feelings, so become a kid with them on those particularly frustrating days and express your feelings together.
Furthers Their Skill Sets
Playing with your children allows them to further develop all kinds of skills. They develop emotionally, socially, physically and mentally as they participate in active playtime with you. Children soak up everything, and who better for them to take after than their parents? Your children will learn how to behave in various settings and can understand what’s appropriate.
Your children will also further their creativity, memory, self-control and gross motor skills. You might even learn a thing or two from your kids, like how to be more patient or how you might be more creative in your workplace by stretching your imagination with your kids.
Offers Them an Active Role Model
From the moment your child is born, participating in play with them shows them that you are an active role model for their lives. Playing with your kids shows them that no matter what age you are, the play won’t go out of style. You’re also showing them that physical activity and mentally challenging games are essential for their lives.
You get to be the role model you want for your kids. That’s what’s so special about parenting and playtime — your kids get to see you have fun with them and demonstrate what it means to be a healthy and involved parent.
Time Spent Playing with Your Children Is Never Wasted
Each time you take a few moments out of your day to play with your kids is time well spent. Your children value those times and will carry those memories long into adulthood. Bring out your inner child and play with your kids today.