Playing with my child is important?

Playing with my child is important?
Playing with my child is important?

As parents, what importance do we give to games and what role do we have in his games? Finally, is it really necessary to play with him?


Play allows children to learn through discovery, to develop their ingenuity through the creativity they awaken, to facilitate their relationships with others through the ability to express themselves and finally, to stimulate his interest in acting by the pleasure he arouses. Phew! And afterwards we will say that the game is a futile and effortless activity! But we, as parents, what importance do we attach to it and what role do we have to play in its games? And finally, is it necessary to play with him?

Does playing with our child really matter?

To develop well through play, children need time to play alone, with companions of their own age and also with a significant adult for them.

His solitary games allow him to sail in an imaginary world that he alone controls and promote his autonomy. Those with friends give him the chance to learn how to interact with children his own age, to learn to compromise and to be stimulated in interests different from his own.

And what is our importance asparents in his games? Getting down to our child's level - both literally and figuratively - is opening up to their world. This allows us to observe him and thus get to know him better in his interests, skills and small challenges. To also see how he uses his imagination and how much he admires us through his imitation games. Taking the time to stop to play with our child makes him feel important to us and promotes the bond of attachment that connects us to him. This has a direct impact on his self-esteem.

According to Francine Ferland, occupational therapist and author of a very interesting book on the subject (1), here is a brief summary of the advantages of shared play time between parent and child. child and the pitfalls to avoid:

Benefits related to the child

  • Getting to know him better
  • Favor the bond of attachment with him
  • Observing our child's strengths and challenges
  • Help him develop a variety of interests

Benefits related to the parent

  • Better enjoy the present moment
  • Reduce stress

The pitfalls to avoid

  • To want to systematically transform the game into an educational activity
  • Want to teach the child to play
  • Too intensely participating in child's play

(1) How about we play? Play in childhood and throughout life, Francine Ferland, Éditions de l’Hôpital Sainte-Justine, 2005


When and howplay?

Here are some tips that will help us make the most of playtime with our child:

  • Prioritize quality over quantity. Choose a time when you will be as available as possible for the child. If you have a very busy schedule, it is better to take a few short periods of play rather than one long one where you get impatient. Avoid doing anything else during the game, such as reading the newspaper, making our grocery list or talking on the phone.
  • Choose a game we both like. No need to force yourself to do a DIY or play toy cars if you hate it. The child will feel it. There are so many games to suit all types of personalities and interests that we are sure to find something that both of us will enjoy.
  • Looking at games through the eyes of a child. Thus, we do not hesitate to sit on the ground with him, to make faces, to dress up, to embark on the overflowing imagination of our child.

What to play?

Here are some suggested games to play with your child:

0-6 months

  • Musical, sound and visual awakening gamesWe put on music, we dance, we sing. We use colorful and noisy objects to catch his eye: bells, rattles, etc.

  • Imitation gamesWe make funny faces and smiles to elicit reactions from our baby.

  • Touch and be touchedWemass, we blow on his arm or his foot, we use soft fabrics that we slide on his skin. We make kisses. He is encouraged to take objects in his hand.

6-18 months

  • Peekaboo GamesWe hide, we reappear. We hide small toys, under a blanket, under a plastic dish so that he discovers them.

  • Mirror gamesWe play with our child in front of a mirror, smiling, grimacing, frowning, squinting. We observe his reaction and his imitations.

  • Bath and water gamesSoap bubbles are blown into the air. We fill and empty plastic dishes with it.

  • Music and danceWe listen to music, we dance with our child in our arms or by holding his hands when he walks. You follow the rhythm by clapping your hands or using a musical instrument.

18 months to 3 years

  • Sound and noise gamesWe try to make him recognize the sounds and noises of his daily life: car, siren, wind in the leaves, etc We imitate the cries of the animals together and the other guesses which animal it is.

  • Parts of the bodyWe ask him to point and then, a little older, to name the different parts of his body. You can also make nursery rhymes. Who does not know: “I have two eyes, so much the better! »?

  • Winter GamesWe hide little plastic animals in a bucket filled withof snow, unmold the snow from the bucket onto a rimmed tray and scrape the snow to discover the hidden animal.

  • Games with our handsThe child of this age loves to play in things with his hands, so water, finger paint, sand. Don't hesitate to dive into it too!

3 to 5 years

  • Imitation gamesWe play at the restaurant, at the grocery store (before sending empty boxes for recycling). And why not involve the child in the preparation of a simple recipe?

  • Rhymes, songs and storiesWe recite nursery rhymes and sing songs with our child. We have fun changing the words. We're making our own illustrated storybook.

  • Indoor campingWe make a tent with blankets and chairs, bring a flashlight and go read a story or play to a board game with our child.

  • Green DIYWe pick up lots of stuff in our recycling bins (egg cartons, toilet paper rolls, juice or yogurt boxes) and make a creative DIY out of it.

  • Shopping ListHow to combine business with pleasure? With our child, we cut out the necessary items from circulars and glue them on sheets of paper.

Finally, let's also let our creativity flow. Other original ideas will certainly develop over time and the shared pleasure of playing with our child. Let's go! Let's play!

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