Benefits of family play:
- Crucial for social, emotional, physical and cognitive development, especially in infants
- Reduce stress
- Stimulates creativity, curiosity and imagination
- Improves overall happiness and fosters a sense of joy
- Creates family memories
- Builds self confidence
- Increases problem solving skills and better communication
- Strengthens family bonds
- Lessens behavior problems
Adding play to your life:
- Make playtime a priority. Calls can be returned later. Work will be there tomorrow. It’s easy to put off family fun, but don’t.
- Families are unique; find what works for you.
- Simplicity can be the difference between an enjoyable and memorable experience and one filled with stress and expense. While vacations to magical destinations can be fun and exciting, when asked years later about pleasurable memories, it is the simple everyday moments children remember.
- If you live in the city, a short drive to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard can be enjoyable. It is relatively inexpensive and affords the change for car games, singalongs, and the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
- Plan for family play. Often times if we neglect to plan for fun activities, they just do not happen. Play board games, cards, work on a hobby or craft, or put together a puzzle. Go outside, play catch, hide and seek, or go for a nature walk. Remember, this is ‘fun time’ so resist the urge to make it about competition.
- Capture opportunities for play during daily rituals. Bath time, bedtime, and dinnertime are perfectly suited for spontaneous play. Don’t be afraid to act silly and lost yourself in the moment. When you shop, provide your child with a picture list of the items you need and see how quickly they can find them. Let your children help wash the car, plant flowers, and rake leaves. Who says you can’t dance while doing the dishes? Yes, there are chores, but with the right attitude, they can also be fun.
Playing together brings joy, excitement and freedom from the constraints of daily obligations. So, let go of distractions and responsibilities for a bit and dive into some family fun time. The benefits for you and your child are incredible.