Drug testing

Playful Parenting - More than Just Fun and Games

Early childhood educators have called play "children's work". Many parents believe their children should be doing something more productive than merely having fun. But, actually, play fosters physical, emotional, intellectual and social development. Encouraging your child to play is vital for his development as well as his happiness.

What is Play?

The dictionary refers to play as recreation. Recreation is a very significant word in building and sustaining strong families. If you capitalize and hyphenate this important word it becomes Re-Creation. This is exactly what having fun with your family by playing games and sharing activities can do. Playing together can recreate your family. It can revitalize, rejuvenate and inspire with energy, life and laughter. It can offer the whole families another chance to connect on a level that you perhaps are not connecting on right now.

We frequently consider play only as the opposite of work, thus we can only have fun when the work is done. I propose that we incorporate play into work sometimes and other times we spend time re-creating ourselves before or after the chores have been accomplished. It is amazing how energized everyone will be after a game of tag in the yard. You will be astounded at how quickly the dishes get done when everyone knows it is a Monopoly or UNO night.

Use Imagination and energy to have fun

In past generations, kids learned to create fun by using personal resources-imagination and energy. We were outside running, jumping, building and creating for hours and hours. Our play usually ended only when our mothers called us in for dinner or a bath.

Today's child is generally programmed with a fully scheduled week of lessons and highly competitive adult managed and supervised sports. Any free time is spent passively watching television leaving little opportunity to develop creativity and initiative.

By establishing a time to "play" you are stimulating your children's creativity and imagination. Children who learn early to take initiative for providing their own entertainment are less likely in the future to depend on artificial stimulants to "turn themselves on."

Establish a Family Fun Night

Many of us are employed in highly stressful jobs and the list of stress-related illnesses grows daily. The more stressed and cranky we are, the less our children want to be around us. By planning quality time spent just fooling around with our kids, the whole family will come out a winner.

As the characteristics of the family have changed over the years with more mothers working outside the house and fathers expected to play a greater role in the child rearing, it is a perfect opportunity to incorporate with the whole family a special time. But how about the many step-families, one-parent families and transient families who move frequently and live far from extended family? This is a method for creating unity and making the most of time together.

The family unit defines who we are and shapes our character. It is in the family dynamic that we learn the important lessons of self-discipline, the art of compromise, cooperation, forgiveness, honesty and fair play. By sharing activities on a regular basis we can teach by example as well as with verbal and non-verbal clues. There is a sense of safety in learning life skills in the family setting and then incorporating them into the real world. We know we will always be loved, even if we do strike out or make a mistake or look foolish sometimes.

Many children are being raised by the television.

Oh sure, they might have moms and dads who pay the rent, fix the meals, and drive them to sports practice, but essentially they are learning their standards, morals and ethics from a 24 inch box in their bedroom or the family room.

Mary Pittaway, registered dietician who heads up the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program in our community has said "children spend eight hours sleeping, two hours eating, five hours at school, 6 hours watching TV, less than one hour in physical activity, three hours engaged in other activities and five minutes in meaningful conversation with their parents on any given day."

Kids who spend too much time in front of a TV or video game are at risk for a great many health concerns, especially type II diabetes, which is skyrocketing among young children. Overweight children are more vulnerable to high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, asthma, and bone and joint problems.

What happens when children don't have play time?

The most devastating result of inactivity and obesity in our children is an emotional cycle of low self-esteem. The less they like themselves, the less likely they are to participate in sports or be active physically-the very thing that could help them. We can lecture them about the benefits of activity, but they will listen and participate more readily if the whole family is involved and it doesn't single them or their problem out.

For a free report on "Helping Your Child Fit In" go to my website www.ArtichokePress.com. In that report you will find that one of the major problems facing left out kids is the inability to play with others. Many classroom and playground problems of fitting in, being clumsy, perceptual-motor skills, social and emotional inadequacies, may be prevented or lessened by parents developing a time to do movement activities, which means in common language, play with their infants and children on an on-going basis.

Will play help your child succeed in life?

The games and activities you share as a family does not automatically guarantee better communication, healthier bodies and minds or a close-knit family. However, being available, approachable, and willing to step out of your comfort zone will insure a higher chance of children who succeed in life.

All of these activities are just vehicles to bring you and your child into close contact for a period of time where barriers are down and talking and laughing are up. Conversations and meaningful dialog will follow, maybe not right away, but kids recognize that you are willing to relax and spend time with them.

They don't want you as a pal but they do need you as a friend. Best friends play, laugh and hang out together frequently. They build bonds of loyalty, respect and love that last forever. Playful parenting is more than just fun and games. Come on; let's go kick the ball around the back yard.

? 2005 www.ArtichokePress.com

Parent educator and PBS "Ready to Learn" consultant, Judy H. Wright works with Head Start staff, child care resource centers, schools and parent organizations internationally. As a powerful and popular presenter for adults who work with children, Judy's also authored over twenty books. For more information on books, clients and testimonials or to book Judy for your next event, call 1-877-842-3431 or go to www.ArtichokePress.com. She is a founding member of Montana Speakers Network and is a regional representative for National Association for Women Writers.

In The News:

An Australian rodent that lived near the Great Barrier Reef has been officially declared extinct — making it the first known mammal killed off by climate change, according to researchers.
Some kids spend their time on social media. Other kids spend their time playing video games. When it comes to 14-year-Jackson Oswalt, his time is spent in a laboratory working on a nuclear fusion reactor.
The ancient desert village of Shivta in southern Israel made headlines when archaeologists discovered a wall painting there that is thought to show the baptism of Jesus Christ , the earliest representation of Christ known in Israel.
MUST WATCH Very rare NEW footage of GIANT PANGOLINS in the wild.
Newly acquired film footage may shed new light on the mysterious fate of Amelia Earhart.
Toxic, black snow has turned parts of a coalmining region in Siberia into a post-apocalyptic landscape. 
The entire genome of great white sharks has been decoded and the secrets that are unlocked may hold the answers to how to cure cancer and other age-related diseases.
A huge asteroid is set to fly past Earth at more than 30,000 mph on Tuesday.
Talk about X-ray vision. 
Stonehenge has long bewildered researchers and onlookers. Now, a new study reveals that one of the biggest mysteries attached to the ancient monument has been solved – where the giant rocks came from.

How to Parent Your Teen Effectively

Maintain CommunicationEven though teens need to separate from their parents... Read More

Stay at Home Mom You Need to Raise Cowboys

Now I know that is not how the song goes,... Read More

Five Ways To Build Super-Strong Relationships With Your Children

One of the questions I ask in parenting presentations is... Read More

Dad, Go Ahead and Cry

She slipped her small, soft eight-year-old hand into mine. Her... Read More

Why First Borns Fuss, Seconds Are Resilient and Last Borns Like To Laugh

How can two or three children in the same family... Read More

Dads, Handle your Kids Mistakes

One of the most difficult parts of being a father... Read More

Homeschool Socialization - Developing Your Homeschool Childs Social Skills

Everyone needs friends, and, as parents, you and I both... Read More

STOP Parental Alienation Syndrome before It Gets a Chance to START

Parental Alienation Syndrome was probably first identified and codified by... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: Truth or Lie?

Attention all parents of teen-agers. Here is an important, groundbreaking... Read More

Raising Teenagers? Stay C.A.L.M.

Parents of teenagers frequently ask what can be done to... Read More

Spelling Games

The following spelling games can be used by parents to... Read More

The Value of Play

Isn't it ironic that a country whose constitution allows for... Read More

Time To Connect With Your Teen

While on a recent trip to the grocery store, I... Read More

Should We Apologize To Our Children?

An apology is a sign of strength, not weakness. Sometimes... Read More

Andy Griffith Show Family Lessons

Although it might seem pretty corny to a lot of... Read More

Back to School Care Packages!

I am crying tears of joy mixed with great sadness... Read More

Parental Involvement in Learning

Whether children attend public or private schools, they benefit when... Read More

Paediatric Osteopathy

All babies cry, but if yours cries a lot, isn't... Read More

Why Creativity and Self-Expression are Important to Little Kids

Can you draw a straight line? Most adults don't consider... Read More

Will My Doubts and Fears Affect My Child?

"Will my doubts and fears affect my child?" This father... Read More

Child Communication Skill: Do You Really Know What Your Child Is Saying To You?

Here's the scene of communication with your child: your three-year-old... Read More

The Importance of Fathers

There is no doubt that mothers play an all-important leading... Read More

How Do You Find the Best Car Seat to Protect Your Child

Choosing a good car seat for your child's protection is... Read More

Discipline on My Mind

I look out of the window as I am writing... Read More

The Benefits of Music Education

Despite serious reductions in funding for arts programs in... Read More

induction street lighting dimmable led light bulb Pete's produce ..