Ways to encourage your Kid to Play: Let me enact what I believe is a common story in many of the households today. Kid comes from school, throws their bag, have their bath, eat some snacks.
Come and pester you for your mobile phone. Throws a tantrum if you do not give in. Opens their favorite app, video, or game and then SILENCE!!
If this sounds very familiar to you or closer to home do not worry it happens most of us.
Whatever has happened till now has happened. But it is still within our capacity to not let it continue in the future.
We need to encourage our children to play. So that in time they “want” to play rather than us pushing them to play.
- Definition of Play
- Why kids need to play?
- What are the types of Play?
- What are the benefits of Play?
- Learning through Play
- 21 Tips for parents to encourage your kid to play
What is Play?
Play meant to be free actions. It concentrates more on independence and emotional courage when a child wants to connect with some physical activity.
Play associates with children and allow them to perform action for their self-enjoyment & pleasure. Play executed indoor or outdoor promotes social skills among children and helps them to expand their imagination & inventions.
The concept of play recommended by several worldwide health organizations to develops mental nourishment, imaginative thoughts, and emotional stability.
By playing, kids utilize the feeling of excitement, which is essential for a child’s psychological development because physical play regulates the sense and emotions of a child.
Physical activities improve self-spirit in children and boost to break down the barriers & connect them with the world.
Why kids need to play?
There was a time when playing outside was only the center of fun for kids. Time has transformed now.
In the age of technology, children prefer to spend their time while watching cartoons or playing online games.
Parents need to focus more on kids to tell the importance of physical play that helps build their learning abilities.
The act of a play brings confidence, developing an appropriate approach to fulfill the requirements of children.
Playing expands freedom, creativity, strong intuitions, and learning skills among your kids. Parents need to learn how to encourage kids to play
Types of Plays
There comes some classification that defines types of play.
Free play endures the kids to use their imagination and allow themselves to play that is not structured or planned. Children would be seeking their favorite place to play or choose their precious things to play with includes Art, Painting, Designing.
The structured play performed by grownup kids as it occurs to follow the set rules in a game or physical activity. These are rule based and work for a certain outcome. All games that are played with set of rules come under structured play. Also, activities like Dance Classes, Aerobic, Music, swimming, and cart games falls under this.
Kids usually act communication play while using gestures or hidden words such as Puzzles, Riddles, Telling Jokes, and Play Act.
Creative Play boost children to seek new games, find out new impressions, and exploit their fantasies. It nurtures Invention, Intuition, or Cognitive Skills among them.
With this play, children act the roles which they like most. But parents must keep their eyes on them when their act Dramatic Plays Character like Superman, Spiderman, Tom & Jerry Etc.
Play where a child would love to play out the things that are unlikely to happen is a physical world.
Fictitious Play appears when a child imaging to fly a plane or become any flying bird.
Play where a child is free to express what he wants to do individually. School going kids’ solitary indulge in reading storybooks or paling construction games while toddlers prefer playing with toys.
Some of the Benefits of Play
- Act of playing builds a healthy body; expand flexibility and robust immune system of children. A physical activity makes muscles strong, improve lung function, regulate heartbeat, and helps to prevent laziness among kids.
- Play increases neurological growth, keeps the brainpower, and reduces the burden of studies for young kids. Playing performs an essential part in structured a brain that can control muscle movement and stamina.
- Play works as a cornerstone where parents encourage their kids to play. When parents value their child & play different games with them, the parent-child association cultivates more gently.
- Play develops emotional understanding to empower a child with convictions to handle future challenges. Self-esteem forged during playing to let the child learn how to express their actions & emotions.
- Play promotes creativity & imagination in children to think beyond the words. Imaginary thoughts & artistic approach allows them to express their emotions.
Learning through Play
The researcher’s opinion has shown that play-based learning support emotional and thoughtful portions of a child. Learning through play works more effectively than direct teaching plans specifically with 4 to 6 aged kids.
Health planner considers playing is a primary factor in learning in which children rehearse motor skills, copy adult characters, and adapt learning the language skills.
Learning-based playing provides a chance for children to discover new ways of physical or cognitive activities like dressing up in their style, playing with dollhouses, arrange imaginary events or kids party, and learn theme activities in schools.
Tips for Parents how to encourage your kid to play
Tip #1: Have a schedule for play
In this past paste environment, it is quite easy to get overwhelmed with activities. And play time can start sleeping to the back burner.
Hence it is important that a fixed schedule in the day is made available so that we can encourage your kid to play. 30 minutes to one hour it is just good enough every day.
Time management is also one of the important skill to have kids learn.
In that way they will have more time to engage in activities for overall development. Read our article on How- to Improve time management in kids (11 Tips).
Do not be tempted to consider play as a waste of time and pack that time with academic or hobby related activities.
Tip#2: Create a space for play
It is better to have a small place in your house dedicated for play. It is easier to make this dedicated place child safe and you can have play related items start in there. Same goes for outdoors also.
Tip#3: Have separate play cloths
One of the fall outs of a good PlayStation is usually messy clothes. Have a separate wardrobe of clothes to play.
They can be simple cotton easy to wear clothes that offer kids flexibility to run around and play.
Having separate play clothes will put less pressure on parents when they see it get spoilt.
Tip #4: Have resources available to promote play
Have play toys, play items, loose parts to play, some items for pretend play, etc. Mostly have open ended toys and items in your play area.
This will encourage your kid to play longer. More the material the more creative the kid can get and the more engaged the kid will be.
Tip#5: Set basic rules and explain them
Set basic rules like the play area, time for play etc. For example explain to your child that he or she is expected to play within the boundaries of the play area does not loiter around outside.
If it is outside set basic rules such as within which area they can play, where they should not step which is unsafe, and how long can they play.
Also rules like they are not allowed to fight with other kids, and other behaviour related rules can be set.
Explain the rules to the children so they understand it very clear and abide by it.
Tip#6: Do not have too many do’s and don’ts.
Let play just happen do not have too many do’s and don’ts for your kid when the kid is about to play.
This can confuse and overwhelm a kid and might also stop the kid from playing. Because the kids start fearing making a mistake.
Tip#7: Get your child started
Some kids may face a bit of a starting trouble. Ideally it is preferred that we do not interfere too much and let them figure it out for themselves.
However, if you have some good ideas that you think will be beneficial for your child point your child in that direction so that the child can hook onto it and start playing.
Example you got a new red piece of cloth, show your kid the cloth, talk about Superman and leave the kid his own imagination.
Tip#8: Do not interrupt them while playing
We need to take children’s playtime seriously. Most of the time we unknowingly interrupt their play time.
Here are some examples, let me know if they sound familiar. “Come have your milk”, “Can you run upstairs and pick up this book to me”, “See who is at the door”, Help me find my phone”, etc.
Tell me do we do these things when the kids are in school time or taking an online class or a hobby class. Play is serious learning treated it in similar fashion.
Tip#9: Do not interfere
Refrain from having an agenda in your mind and encourage your kid to play as per that.
Let them enjoy and play in his or her own style. Do not interfere and impose your ideas on how they should play.
Interference will not only create confusion to the kid but also interrupt his thought process and his imagination flow.
So, do not interfere unless you find safety concerns. Remember kids are learning when they play. Just in different ways than we conventionally understand.
Tip#10: Accept getting wet or messy
There is no point in giving kid play time and then getting all upset when your kid turns up wet and messy.
No two play sessions are the same it depends totally on your kid’s imagination creativity and mood for that day.
As parents we need to accept an embrace wet and messy outcome from play. A disapproval will only make the child not engage in such activity and stay away from playing.
Tip#11: Get them to talk about what they played
At the end of their playtime it would do us good if you go and have a look at what they have played.
Not all play is outcome based. So sometimes the kid may not have anything to show to you. But all play is to the kid and the kid will always have something to talk to you about.
A simple question such as “what did you play today?” is good enough to engage you for the next half an hour.
Tip#12: Let them find their own solutions
While playing a child encounters numerous challengers and situations. Like how to place a stone on top of a twig or bind a doll to a shoe.
If you were sitting and observing them play (which we believe you should not do) then do not try to work out the problem for them.
Same goes for when they keep running and coming to you for solution. Instead give a little nudge and point them to a direction. But do not solve it for them.
Let them solve their own problems this will not only make them think out of the box but also sharpen their problem-solving skills.
It is one of the most important responsibility of us as parents to encourage our kids to face challenges. If you are wondering how. We have out it covered in our article 11 Practical ways to help your child face challenges.
Tip#13: Give positive feedback
Your child deserves to get positive feedback every time he discovers something new, praises his work if he constructs a blocks house or car.
Giving positive feedback not only encourage your kid to do better, it also tells your kid that him playing is important and is worthwhile to be appreciated and not just a time pass.
Tip#14: Talk to others of your kids
A simple conversation about what your kid achieved while he played to your spouse on the dinner table in front of him will go a long way in enforcing play as a habit for the kid.
The kid will not only feel proud of what they have achieved but also will look forward to having similar achievements in the future.
While this is good to encourage kids to play this tip can be used for any situation in life where you want to reinforce a behaviour.
Tip#15: Let them get bored
You do not need to keep your kid engaged all the time. When they come clinging to you, point them to places or activities where they can engage themselves and play.
Being bored will make them think creatively and engage in creative play. You will not be so puzzled if you read about the amazing benefits of boredom in our article “I AM BORED” – Surprising benefits of Boredom for kids.
Tip#16: Participate in their play
When time permits and occasionally participate in their play. Especially when they are in pretend or role-based play.
Play that might need a customer to visit their shop, or a guest to serve tea. Participate enthusiastically when they call you to involve in their play.
Another way to participate is to create a game where the toy has a name & character; try storytelling games with your kids to develop imaginary skills among them.
Tip#17: Include them in your activity
Include your kid in whatever you are doing. Be it making a batter for the cake, or gardening, or walking the pet.
While you go about doing your work every material that the kid places his hands on becomes and material to play with.
You might find suddenly the baking moulds have become serious play toys for your kid. Or a simple walking your dog activity has turned into a treasure hunt for the kid.
Tip#18: Take them for a nature walk or playground
Never miss a chance to take them for a walk outside or a visit to a playground.
The former will help your child to connect very closely with nature and make him more aware of himself and his surroundings.
And the latter will hey help him build social skills when they interact with other children and help in developing gross and fine motor skills.
Tip#19: Invite friends and peers for playdate
Occasionally it would be nice when we invite your kid’s friends and peers for a playdate.
Prepare creative snacks for the children after the playtime and have fun watching them interact and play.
This will also increase your kids social skills and communications skills.
There are also other ways of developing your kid’s communication skills which we have outlined in our post 9 Best Ways to develop your kid’s communication skill.
Tip#20: Restrict Screen Time.
This is the main competition to play. The one reason why there is a huge decline in the time spent by children playing.
Be aware of this and set a limit per day for screen time. Even if the kid does not have other activity let it be so. But end the screen time after the allocated time is used.
To know more about screen addiction in kids which is become very prevalent these days it is good to know about it from our article SCREEN ADDICTION IN KIDS – All you need to know with Tips.
Tip#21: Make it a family effort
Everyone in the family need to be aligned on the importance of play and believe in it.
It will only conflict the child if one parent encourages play while the other parent feels the time child is wasting time.
So, it is important that we as partners align with each other and make the message very clear to our child our view on play. This way together you both can encourage your kid to play.
While there can be various reasons like school hours, academic activities and hobbies classes, parents ‘fear of children interacting with strangers”, Less outdoor space, or safety concerns or the most fundamental of all that the kid prefers indoors watching/ playing with electronic gadgets etc.. that can prevent kids from playing…
Whatever the reason may be, long story short our kids are not getting enough time to play or are having less interest to play.
The responsibility lies on us as parents to ensure that our kids spend time to play. The benefits the kids will reap will be immense and worth the nudge and effort.
We hope this blog has addressed on ways to encourage your kid to play and has been helpful to you.
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