How to play with your children
Many compare children to being scientists or genius minds with photographic memory and an ability to learn absolutely anything. In truth, children are like sponges and their brains are the most fertile for the first five years of their lives. During these formative years of childhood, children learn to understand and express their feelings, regulate emotions, and absorb information from their surroundings through activities.
Playing with your children is important. The following are some suggestions that may help you in selecting activities appropriate to their age.
For young children…
When you play with your child, it shows them that you care about them and it also helps build their self-esteem. While many parents feel that playing has to be a certain constructive way to be effective, that is not true. Playing with your child can be an immersive, fun experience and it can be incorporated into anything. Singing songs while doing house chores, playing 'tickle monster' when waking them up, and playing dress up when you are getting them ready to take them out are all ways to integrate play into your daily routine.
Toddlers are masterminds who are raring to take on the world. They are learning to be independent and their abundant energy demands play that can get them nice and tired. Take them out to a park or in nature for some fresh air and sunlight and allow them to run free. Practice throwing and catching balls, play peek-a-boo or hide and seek, do some water play, and recite poems with them.
Bath times involve bubbles, water, and an enthusiastic little child. Throw in some rubber ducks or swimming toys and allow their imagination to run wild. Blow bubbles, build sud towers on their heads, teach them their body parts through fun songs, or play in the tub with washable colours.
Don't neglect older children…
Older children are independent but still crave parental company, affection, and attention. Planned play time that they can look forward to such as going on bicycle rides, walks, or playing card or board games can all help strengthen your bond with your child, and help build trust and companionship between parent and child.
…or strong-willed children
When playing with a strong-willed child, it is important to persevere and not get frustrated. You can do this by following their lead and playing what they want to play, even if it doesn't make sense to you. Verbalise what you are doing with them so that they understand what it is that they should be observing and learning with you. It also lets them know that you are focussed on them and are enjoying doing their activity.