Playing with your child every day, even if it is only 10 or 15 minutes, allows you to develop a true complicity with him and helps to enrich the bond that unites you. When you play games, your child understands that you value what’s important to him.
Keep in mind that the goal is to have fun and share a good time with your child, not to teach him to play or turn the game into an educational activity. If playing with your child is still learning, it will not feel like playing, but rather doing an exercise or doing a task to please you. The pleasure may then disappear and play, it is above all to have fun!
Let your child decide
Let your child lead the game because this is the only area where he can decide everything (unlike food, dressing, bedtime …). When making decisions, your child feels a great sense of control, which brings pride and self-esteem. You can offer small variations to enrich the game, but without imposing them. It’s your child who decides whether he accepts them or not.
Discover each other through the game
By playing with your child, you will get to know him in a new light and your child will know you outside of your serious parenting role. You will see how he organizes his game, what initiatives he takes, his reaction to a tower of blocks that falls without stopping, his perseverance to complete a puzzle, his imagination … For his part, he will realize that, like him, you like to laugh, that you happen to have funny ideas and that you know how to have fun.
Moreover, he will be calmer: he will not have to seek by all the means to catch your attention since you will give him playing with him. In addition, he will more easily accept a refusal when he asks you to play with him if he knows he can play with you at a specific time of the day.
Should you always play with your child?
If you run out of time or energy after a busy day or if you do not like playing too much, rest assured. When your child asks you to play with him, he wants you to give him attention first and foremost. This is what you do when you:
- Share good times with him, such as talking with him while bathing and eating, singing while driving, leafing through a book together, taking a walk in the park, etc.
- Just watch your child playing. Take advantage, for example, to comment on his drawings or to encourage him while he builds a tower with his cubes;
- Present the housework as a game to your child. He will be happy to help you every day to set the table or sort the laundry, for example.
Giving attention to your child is just as important as playing with him.
All of these activities give your child a sense of importance as you spend time with him.
Learn to play alone
For a child, learning to play alone is as important as sharing moments of play with dad or mom. By playing alone, your child develops his autonomy, his resourcefulness, his imagination and his ability to take initiatives. In addition, playing alone allows him to decide what he is playing, how, with what and for how long.
If your child has difficulty playing without you, do not send him alone to his room (he thinks you want to get rid of him) or tell him that you do not understand that with so many toys he can to be bored. Install it near you and comment on what it does while you go about your business. For example, say, “Wow! They look good your plasticine cookies! Or “I’m sure Grandma will love the drawing you do for her. Speaking to him, you accompany your child in his game, and this encourages him to continue.
Play, a cure for stress
Laughter is an excellent antidote to stress because it produces in our body a natural hormone, endorphin, which reduces fatigue and stress.
Playing with your child makes you rediscover the pleasure of the present moment. In this game, your child is totally focused on what’s going on. Running a race with his cars or trying to drag his truck on a narrow slope monopolizes all his attention.
By following your child in his game and being interested in what is happening at the moment, you are slowing down your usual pace. Your child is an excellent teacher to teach you that every minute is worth living. Let him guide you. You will not be able to do otherwise than to have fun, to laugh and forget temporarily your concerns of the day. The period of play is, therefore, a moment free from all stress and entirely devoted to pleasure.
Do you have too much to do?
Your child’s first activity is to play, but it is not necessarily yours … However, you can certainly find a few minutes to have fun with your toddler. Consider this time as your anti-stress therapy, as your valve’s tensions of the day.
Some game ideas
- Pursue your child on all fours: Toddlers especially like to see you on the floor by their side, and they love pursuits that end with hugs.
- Imitate screaming animals: this game can make a car ride very fun.
- The storm: lie on your back with your legs bent. Then put your child on your lap and hold it by the hands. The storm rises, you move in all directions and your child must maintain his balance in the middle of the waves unleashed.
- The bell: stand up and hold your child under the armpits. Then, swing it from front to back, between your legs, accompanying this movement with a “ding-dong! “Rhythmic.
- Hide and Seek: At around age 2, your child understands how this game works and takes a lot of fun playing it.
For other suggestions, consult our activity sheets.