A friend on a message board posted a great article. She read it in a random newsletter she received (whether via email or regular mail or another way, I don't know). I'd give credit to the author and newsletter if I knew the source. It's definitely worth sharing though. We struggle every single day with my 6.5-year-old's behaviour and I do know that part of it could be helped by more one-on-one play and more personal attention in general. It's something I'm working on. I feel like I'm just running in place right now though as often he'll just bring down a game to play and then the baby demands attention and by the time I've taken care of her, he's off and into something or out playing with the little girl across the street and we rarely get that time together that he needs, that we both need. We ended tonight with a game of Memory while having a muffin and lemonade picnic on the living room floor. Our bedtime tuck-him-in-and-scratch-his-back routine got cut short by a fussing baby, however.
The article posted was the following:
Playing to Prevent Power Struggles
Kids playing independently! Parents celebrate when kids will finally play on their own or with a sibling. Finally – a few minutes of breathing room for mom and dad to get some things done around the house!
Independent play is important for your child’s development and should be encouraged, however, playing WITH your kids on a daily basis will do you and your kids a world of good. It will even fend off some of the most frustrating power struggles.
Playing WITH your kids doesn’t have to be elaborate or take a lot of time. It can be as simple as throwing a ball or role playing with dolls or action figures. “Playing” with a teenager can be a game of backgammon, UNO, or a round of Wii Golf. “Playing” is what ever your CHILD likes to do for fun.
3 Great Reasons to Play With Your Kids
1. Deepen Emotional Connection: Kids love to play with us. When you spend time in their world – doing what ever it is they like to do – it creates strong emotional connections. Imagine how your child will respond if you say, “I have 15 minutes before I have to leave for work and I would love to play/hang out with you. Let’s do something YOU love to do for the next 15 minutes.”
It doesn’t require a long time to create emotional bonds – but being INTENTIONAL about spending PLAY time each day with your child will do wonders for strengthening emotional connections.
2. Fewer attention-seeking misbehaviors: When parents play WITH their kids, they are PROACTIVELY filling the child’s attention basket in POSITIVE ways. Children have a hard-wired need for attention – it’s non-negotiable. If we provide sufficient POSITIVE attention on a daily basis, kids won't resort to negative behaviors to get it – 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 kids and fewer power struggles! As playful parents fill their kids’ attention baskets in POSITIVE ways and emotional connection increases, children consistently become MORE COOPERATIVE at other times during the day! When your child’s hard-wired needs for emotional connection and attention are met, he doesn’t feel the need to “fight back” to get negative attention.
You’ll be amazed at how much more cooperative your kids will be throughout the day. Try it - it’s a beautiful thing!