One of the most important building blocks in a child’s life is playing. Children learn important skills, like fine motor abilities, teamwork, problem solving, and creativity when they play.
With the prevalence of technology in our lives, recent studies report that children are playing less and spending more time on screens. While educational programs and video games can also be beneficial in helping children learn, kids need a healthy balance between screens and other activities.
Not only is play beneficial for kids, but it’s important for adults too. Play reduces stress, increases endorphins and inspires creativity. It provides breathing room in our otherwise busy lives.
It can be easy for us as parents to turn down our children’s requests to play with them. We say no because we want to squeeze in that load of laundry, watch YouTube videos to decompress, or are busy scrolling social media.
When I catch myself paying more attention to other things than my kids, I try to remind myself that these years are flying by. I want them to have memories of us playing together as a family. If I consistently say no to playing or spending time with them, will they have those memories?
Here are three simple suggestions for how we can incorporate more play into our family life:
- Schedule it: Pick a consistent time of day or night of the week that your family will dedicate to play. An evening of family board games or a weekend athletic activity can be a fun part of your family’s regular routine.
- Turn off the technology: Set specific hours of the day when everyone in the family turns the technology off. Focus on playing and spending time together.
- Keep it simple: As parents, we can often overthink things and have forgotten about the simplicity of spontaneity and games that don’t require money or equipment. An impromptu game of hide and seek or red light-green light can be really fun and memorable!
I’d love to know: what is your favorite way to play with your family?