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How You Currently Play With Your Child
Why Is Play So Important?
Key Play Skills
Play brings you closer to your children; it helps them to become
more independent; they are more able to work problems out; to develop
their own concentration and imagination. Key skills needed for life
and learning at school.
2. Check-Out How You Play
Get a friend, partner or relative to watch you playing with your
child and to jot down a few notes. Try to observe the following:
Who decides what to play? How long does it last? Who is
most interested? How much enjoyment is there? What good
behaviour is praised and encouraged? Discuss what was observed
and work out a plan from ideas within this article on how you can
develop your play skills further. Set yourself simple and
achievable targets. Involve your friends and family and check
your progress weekly. Make it FUN! You could observe your
friend playing with their child in exchange for them helping you.
REMEMBER you are the experts on your own children so pool your
knowledge and experience! If you can't get a friend or member of
your family to help you can still make your own personal plan.
3. Ask Yourself
Do I enjoy playing with my child? How often in an average
week do I play and for how long? What are the barriers that can
get in the way and how can these be gradually removed? What does
my child think about play-times?
Try to plan ahead. Identify 10-15 minutes per day when you
can play with the least interruptions. Turn the television off and
involve brothers and sisters.
Involving Your Child
Ask your child what
they enjoy playing. Let them choose what they want to play. You would
be surprised how many parents automatically decide how, what and when
they are going to play. Children learn best and enjoy play more when
they decide how they want to play and at what pace. Importantly their
concentration, enjoyment levels and good behaviour increases as a
consequence! Hence there are strong "pay-offs" for both the
child and parent.
3. Getting Down To Your Child's Level
Preparing for play is important. Make sure you are close to
your child, have eye contact and show that you are interested e.g. if
your child is playing on the floor, sit on the floor with them.
4. Describing What You See
Let your child pick a play activity and as your child is playing
just concentrate on describing what you see in a very positive tone of
voice e.g. "you have picked up the red brick and are
placing it on the blue brick". This skill will need a lot
of practice as you will inevitably want to direct the play by saying
such things as "I know lets put this brick on top of this other
brick". Avoid asking questions and copy your child's play.
5. Praising What You See
When you feel totally comfortable with describing what you see,
try to begin to use descriptive praise i.e. "what a good girl for
putting that red brick on the blue brick". Be close when you
praise, smile, get eye contact, use touches, hugs and strokes.
Be sincere and genuine and praise as soon as possible after the good
behaviour in order to encourage them to repeat it. Your child
needs to know that you are pleased in order for them to learn
self-confidence and to explore further. They are learning to be
co-operative rather than to be defiant.
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