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School vacation is coming up – How to connect with your child

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment
Kids volunteer project Japan

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I can’t believe it is almost Christmas but it is! Nine more days. If your house is anything like mine, the excitement factor is ratcheting up on a daily basis and with it comes some behaviors that can be, ah, rather trying for us parents!!! So when I read this post recently, I remembered the importance of playing with kids as a behavior improvement strategy.

Playtime with kids is a great activity, as everyone is usually very relaxed and happy after engaging in some play time.  Somehow, however,  there always seems to be something else that has to be done. Housework, calls to be made, emails to be sent, errands to be run, work to be completed – you feel the pressure and just want to get it done! But then a conversation with someone who is older (who has had young kids and been there, done that)  is a reminder of how fleeting this time is.

So to remind myself and you, here are some reasons to just play with your kids
(reposted from Positive Parenting Solutions, as I don’t have much time to write these days!):

1. Creating Emotional Connection: Much of the daily interaction between parents and children consists of “ordering, correcting and directing.” (“Don’t forget to drink your milk”, “it’s time to take a bath”, “stop hitting your sister”, etc.) When parents order, correct, and direct, they are in the “Parent Ego State” and this type of interaction often invites the “fight or flight” response in our kids, resulting inpower struggles.

When parents play on the floor and have FUN with their kids – both the parent and child are operating in the “Child Ego State”. The “child” ego state is where emotional connections are made. It doesn’t require a long time to create emotional bonds – but being INTENTIONAL about spending PLAY time each day with your child in the “child ego state” will do wonders for strengthening the emotional connections.

2. Fewer attention-seeking misbehaviors: When parents play WITH their children, they are PROACTIVELY filling the child’s attention basket in positive ways. Children have a hard-wired need for attention. If parents don’t provide sufficient POSITIVE attention, children will resort to negative behaviors to get it – whining, clinging, helplessness, sibling fighting, etc. When parents implement consistent playtime WITH their children – attention-seeking misbehaviors begin to fall off the radar screen!

3. More cooperative children! As parents fill attention baskets in POSITIVE ways and emotional connection increases, children consistently become MORE COOPERATIVE at other times during the day! When the child’s core emotional requirements for connection and attention are met, he doesn’t feel the need to “fight us” to get negative attention and is more cooperative when asked to do things throughout the day. It’s a beautiful thing!

So play board games, wrestle on the floor (this is our family favorite since everyone can join in), do crafts, play tag or hide and seek, go sledding or ice skating- whatever your child enjoys (and it is even better when you enjoy it too!). There is also a great book out there by Lawrence Cohen called Playful Parenting that focuses exclusively on this topic. I highly recommend the book and will blog about that some other time.

And please let me know if you have any good playtime ideas or anything else to add. I would love to get active discussions going on this blog, so please feel free to comment, comment, comment!! 🙂