Kids love to play, that bit’s obvious. Whether it’s outside – splashing in the puddles and riding their bikes – or they choose to sit on the living room floor to play with whatever toys they grab first, children will happily play to their heart’s content.
While they’re normally happy to use their imaginations and play alone, or with friends, if you have the time to spare, get involved! Make the most out of their early years because they won’t last for long and, before you know it, they’ll be spending most of their time at school and will have hardly any time with you. Treasure the moments you have with them and play along with whatever game that they suggest. Here are some tips to help.
Follow their cues
Remember that it’s their game so be creative and follow their lead. Perhaps your little boy wants to play with his Imaginext Batcave and he’s asking you to play the part of the Joker – do it! Maybe your little princess wants to play dress-up – you may not fit into her dresses, but there’s no reason why you can’t improvise with what you have in your wardrobe.
Use the time to not only enjoy their company but to also get a general idea of where they are at development-wise. Encourage and challenge them, and praise and nurture the skills that they possess.
Give them plenty of time to play
Don’t set a time limit if you can help it. Give them plenty of time to explore and use their imagination, without clock watching. Weekend days are an ideal time to factor in lots of play, when you’re both relaxed. Let the housework wait!
This goes without saying but if they’re very young, don’t leave them unsupervised for any length of time. Make sure that the environment they are playing in is safe, whether you’re playing inside or out.
Use age appropriate toys
Even if it means playing with toys that might ‘bore’ you, make sure that you choose age appropriate ones for your youngsters because, one thing’s for sure, they won’t think they’re boring. From stacking toys and shape sorters for toddlers and texture-rich fabric books for babies, to dolls and action figures for the older kids, make sure they have plenty of variety to get their imagination whirring.
Take advantage of any quality time you have with your children while you still have it – before you know it, they’ll be too cool to play with their boring old parents anymore!
Written in collaboration with Kira