So you are a good parent and you keep plenty of time unscheduled for your kids so they can enjoy themselves in free time.
You understand the importance of these activities for your child’s confidence, grit, and social skills.
What’s more! You try to match your free time with theirs so you can spend time with them.
You have designated space and toys just so your kids have all the resources they need.
And you assume playtime at your home is fun.
But there are certain signs that play at your home is not the play that brings joy and emotional awareness to your children.
More Than Half of Your Playtime is Spent Indoor
It’s customary for most families nowadays to spend most of their leisure times at home.
If you are not at home enjoying board games and movies, you are out in the entertainment parks to take rides or having dinner at sensational restaurants.
There is nothing bad with either of these options. But the balance should be more in favor of outdoor games and activities.
You cannot go hiking or for spending time in the woods every other day. But you can make sure that your kids have excess time for play dates featuring backyard picnics and volleyball matches.
And if you are blessed with a park in the vicinity of your house, use this blessing well.
Play is Peaceful at Your Home
But play should be peaceful, shouldn’t it be?
Yes, it should be peaceful but only to a certain extent. An unnaturally calm and quarrel-less play among children may signal imbalanced power structure or low-spirited kids.
Play is for fun. But this fun should bring growth and nourishment for your kids’ cognitions and emotional self.
Presence of imbalanced power structure, however, brings just the opposite. It brings strained relations with siblings or other playmates. It allows one party to invite emotional states of anger and pride while the other party develops the fear, shame, and resentment. All these emotions are unhealthy and repress kids’ ability to understand their needs and connect with their inner selves.
At the same time, if kids are more tame than normal, you (or other caregivers) might be disciplining them harder than is necessary. The result is, again, resentment.
They Need Your Help during Play
There can be various kinds of help they might require. Asking for direction about the nature and content of the play is one of these.
Others include asking for more toys, or change in furniture settings, or assistance in role-playing.
Their dependence on you as a judge and mediator also signals lost cause.
If you are an active participant in their game then most help is okay.
But if they are playing independently, then they should play without your intervention.
Remember play is the duty of children. They should be able to fulfill their duty with little external help.
Play is an Accessory
Do you believe that play is an accessory for your kids which can be ignored in face of time constraints?
Or do you think the play can be substituted with other activities like reading circles or house chores?
These two beliefs indicate that you are undermining the importance of play in your kids’ life. And everything which receives less priority from us ends up getting ignored by us, if not consciously then subconsciously.
So, if you think recreational activities are not a priority, your sub-conscious will present one accuse or another to deter you from allowing space for it in your kids’ lives.
Reconsider your priorities and understand that play is one of the most crucial learning tools our kids can have in their childhood and later parts of their lives.
Play should be just play. Without the expectations of growth, learning, and bonding.
But these by-products of play are important too. So, why not enhance them by bringing simple changes to the way we approach play and recreation.