"Life isn’t a matter of milestones but of moments."
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
Making time for play is such an important part of your child’s growth and development. Kids need free time to play. You do not want to over-schedule your children or they will be exhausted and will not have time to unwind and relax.
When your child plays, he learns to think creatively, work through the events of his life, and work on problem-solving. You will often see a young child playing with little figures or trying to build a structure with blocks; they are actually trying to figure out how things work.
Kids are also working on building social skills.
As your kids get older, they will still play (or now “hang out”.) They will play video games with friends or go out and play ball.
It is also important as parents to make time to play with your kids. Children remember a parent playing with them. Whether it is throwing a football outside or playing a board game, kids will keep this memory, and, hopefully, replay the scenario with their children when they grow up and have a family.
You need to get down to a child’s level and find an activity that you can both do together. It may take a few times of playing together for you both to enjoy it and have fun. Make sure you disconnect from everything else in your life like work, cell phones, email and focus on spending quality time with your kids.
Even the American Academy of Pediatrics has reported on the topic of play as being crucial to a child’s overall development of their imagination, cognitive, physical and creative areas.
- Schedule “play time” with your child weekly.
- If you have several children, do your best to spend some one-on-one playing time doing something they enjoy.
- When possible plan family time that includes extended family such as cousins, aunts and uncles. Kids will never forget these family activities.
Excerpt from the parenting book Parenting Without a Paddle:Navigating the Waters of Parenthood by Kristin Fitch and Sharon Pierce McCullough.
Sharon is an artist, designer and author of both "how-to" books and children's picture books. She is also co-founder of ZiggityZoom and the managing editor. The book "Parenting Without a Paddle:Navigating the Waters of Parenthood" was co-authored by McCullough, along with Kristin Fitch, the other co-founder of ZiggityZoom. She is passionate about family and family fun.