There are articles and researches abound on the topic of being a playful parent and how it helps the baby in long term. In this article we aim to provide a bird’s eye view to this theory and demonstrate ways of being a more playful parent to your baby right from infancy!
Join the infants in their world of wonder
Get down on the floor (or the bed) with your infant and join them in their world of discovery. Infants learn through their senses of sight, touch, hearing and smell. Every little thing that we take for granted is a magical discovery for them. Join them in their world for as much time of the day as you can spare and marvel at the little things that your baby finds interesting.
Follow the giggles too! Your little one may go into peels of unstoppable giggles at something seemingly normal. By joining in you are taking part in an important part of his play and even encouraging it.
Join the toddlers in their imaginative world
Toddlers and sometimes even older children are known for their fertile imagination. They love to play dress up and make imaginary friends too. To you a bed sheet is just a bed sheet, but in your toddler’s pretend world, it could her long hair as a princess or his ship sail that could take him to Pirate Island! This may not seem like a major milestone but it is important that your toddler learns about symbolic play which helps them to think abstract.
Connecting with 6 to 10 year old children
Children at this age love to reverse roles with their parents. Let your child be the stronger and the older one (hopefully also wiser) while you be the younger and incompetent counterpart. This kind of role reversal teaches children about responsibility. This also dispels any tension and gives both of you a chance to behave silly and enjoy the whole show.
Often we, as parents take life too seriously and view every minor offence as a gateway to a world where they will turn into non conforming adults. Sometimes it is best to take a lighter view of these minor offences and laugh it off. You can take up the matter later when in a family meeting, where your child is going to be more receptive to your feedback.
Encouraging emotional expression
Children often express their powerful emotions through outbursts and tears. To an adult the trigger to these emotions may seem small, but understand that for your children, these triggers look like the end of the world! So the triggers may seem small to you but the emotions are big and you need to validate them. Please don’t try to write it off. Instead allow for a full release of such emotions. In all probability, it will lead to a happier child once the reaction is over.