These days there is no shortage of advice on how to raise your children, and it’s not just from your friends, family, and neighbours anymore. With the world of social media, and access to bloggers and experts from any corner of the planet, it can be overwhelming to try to make the best choices for your family. When it comes to being a parent, you really just have to go with what feels right to you. I know this has been said many times, and I have read it many times, being a parent of four myself.
Many of us have huge “to do” lists of crafts, games and puzzles we have found on various websites and social media. These look like great activities to try, and they often are. We search online for the most educational games and apps, or how to be the handiest, craftiest parent, and the list goes on and on. With all of this activity we have the best intentions for our children. But all of this can be so overwhelming that we miss out on the most fun part. PLAY!
We do need reminders now and then to just play. Simple as that, play. One word that has so much to offer—not only the small people in your life but yourself as well.
Ask your children what game they’d like to play. Then go with it; let it happen naturally. It is so beneficial for us adults to remember how to do this. It can be so relaxing to put our minds to rest and just play with our children. In a world paced so quickly, we need to do this now and then to put things back into perspective. Don’t forget to put your device on silent and out of reach, so you can truly be present to enjoy free time with your children.
So whether it is jumping in puddles, sledding down a hill, making blanket forts, having a mini wrestling match in the living room, swinging at the park, or just colouring on paper, try to put the world aside and take advantage of being able to just play, and play often.
Play helps bring us closer together. The memories, as your children grow up, will help define your children’s relationships with you. Children who have healthy relationships with the grown ups around them develop a solid foundation for their future success.
We don’t need books to be able to play with our kids, but if you’re interested in the science and research behind why play is so important, here are just a few of the many great reads available!
- The Art of Roughhousing: Good Old Fashioned Horseplay and Why Every Kid Needs It — by Anthony T. DeBenedet and Lawrence J. Cohen
- Big Body Play — by Frances M. Carlson
- The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World — by Susan Linn
Please phone the Centre for Family Literacy in Edmonton at 780-421-7323 for more information about the 3,2,1,FUN! program, or visit our website www.famlit.ca