Parents in Action: Playful parenting

As busy parents we can sometimes get lost in the day-to-day shuffle of paying bills, going to work and making sure dinner is on the table every night. But with all of these duties some parents find that they're missing the most important part of parenting; spending time with the kids. As difficult as it may seem, separating yourself from the job of parenting and immersing yourself in the joy of parenting can not only trigger stress relief but it can also help your kids explore imagination, learn new things and help build a stronger relationship with the family. And isn't that what all families want?

Get Outside:
Devote 30-minutes every day to getting outside with the kids. You can do anything you want. Play a game of catch, go on a bike ride, walk around the block or just sit outside and talk about the day. Outdoor activities have two great advantages. First, it's a great way for you kids to blow off some of that extra energy they come home with and secondly, its great to substitute for mom and dad's workout. Outdoor activity will also help your kids develop physical strength, hand-eye coordination and decrease the temptation of sitting in front of the computer or T.V.

Teach the Grown Up Games:
Sitting down and playing a 5 year old's game after a while can get a little boring for parents. So as your kids get older instead of playing their games teach them how to play "adult" games like checkers, chess, Scrabble or any other games you enjoy. By exposing your kids to similar games you'll not only increase the one-on-one time you're spending together but you'll also be growing their knowledge of words, strategy and thinking ahead.

Once your kids have become confident in some new games, invite some of their friends over and hold a tournament where your kids can help teach anyone who doesn't know that games. Set up some prizes and make it a day where friends and family can spend together.

Try New Things:
Your kids are always learning about new things at school and from friends. Whether it's baking, going on a mountain hike or just reading a new book together, invite your kids to think of activities that they've never done before but would like to try. Then you can set aside time each month to try new activities together. If your kids can't agree on what to try, implement a rotation schedule where each month a different person in the family chooses. Doing this your kids might find new activities they enjoy like dancing, arts & crafts, singing, sports or a whole load of other things.

The biggest thing that can help you become a more playful parent is thinking outside the box. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to play with your kids. The most important aspect of playful parenting is being present and enjoying every moment, regardless of what's on the to-do list, what bills need to be paid or work calling on your smartphone. By devoting some time every day for play, you'll soon see the decrease in stress and better relationship with your kids.


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