The Parenting Clubhouse Podcast Episode 32: Making the Most of Playtime

parenting play podcast Oct 22, 2019

Hi there and welcome to The Parenting Clubhouse Podcast! Teaching parents how to play and interact with their young kids is one of my favorite things to do because it’s so fun and so dang important. So today we are going to talk all about playtime. Plus, I’ll cover some important strategies you should use with your kids to make the most out of playtime. Let’s jump in! 

Last week I attended a professional conference on behavior analysis that sparked the idea for this episode. I attended a workshop about parent training, specifically how to train parents how to play and interact with their children. While the workshop was geared toward parents of children who have Autism Spectrum Disorder, this idea of getting on the floor and playing with your children is relevant for all parents. 

There’s plenty of research describing the benefits of playtime and why playtime is so important for young children. Ultimately, children learn how to play from us, their parents, and from others around them. During playtime, our children are learning new skills, are learning how to play with toys, are undergoing language development, and are learning social skills and how to interact with peers. It’s obvious. Playtime is important. 

Here are some specific strategies that you can use during playtime with your child:

Dedicating time for play every day

It’s important to dedicate at least 15-30 minutes of playtime with your child everyday to aid in all of those areas of development that I have already discussed. While it may be difficult to dedicate this time because of our busy schedules, it’s important! 

Get on the floor with your child

To make the most of our playtime, we have to get on the floor with our child and actually play with them. Not just watch them. Not just sit there. Actually play with them. 

Use describing words to describe play

This is where we use all of those verbs and adjectives that we learned in elementary school to describe our play and our child’s play. We can describe the actions that are child is doing: rolling the ball, stacking block, feeding the baby doll. We can describe the toys themselves: the blue block, the round ball, the soft baby, the fast car. This strategy will definitely help with that language development. 

Model how to play with toys

Show your kids how to play with specific toys. Roll the car on the ground and say, “Beep, beep. Vroom, vroom.” Show your child how to stack blocks by stacking them yourself. Remember, playtime is where your child is learning how to play appropriately with each toy. 

Model sharing and taking turns

If our child has siblings or there are peers around, show your child how to share and take turns by describing that you are sharing and describing that you are taking turns. Children learn a lot of important social skills during playtime including sharing and taking turns. 

Praise your child for appropriate play behavior

As always, praise your child for playing appropriately. You can say, “I like how you are rolling the police car.” “You are feeding your baby doll so nicely.” “Good job stacking the blocks.” As you can see, even in our praise statements we are describing our child’s play. 

If these tips and strategies were helpful for you, I’ve got a ton of other resources available for you. Check out all of my previous podcast episode by subscribing to the podcast (and don’t forget to leave a review)! 

If you’re looking for more strategies that you can use with your young child every day, check out my Regain Control of Your Child’s Behavior course. It’s filled with lots of tips and strategies that are EASY to use and that can make a difference in your day! 

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