7 ways to encourage your child to play

7 ways to encourage your child to play

It is well known that play takes a big part of the child’s daily life. It is through play that the child doesn’t only use the skills he has but also develops new skills and learns about the world. Sometimes parents know exactly what to do and how to do it when it comes to encouraging play in young children but, from my experience, I have found that many parents don’t like playing with their children or don’t know how to encourage play at home. So I am sharing with you today 7 simple ways that will encourage your child to play in his own environment: 

  1. Let him CHOOSE what he wants to play with. This will help boost his self-esteem and his creativity. Parents tend to choose the games and activities for their child based on what they want them to learn. But unfortunately, learning happens the other way round; children choose what they need and want to learn about. This is how learning happens!!
  2. WATCH & LISTEN. Once the child chooses the activity/game he wants to play with, parents are advised to observe and listen to the child’s explicit and implicit messages; to what he likes and/or dislikes, to his interests and/or challenges. Let the child be the leader and show you how he wants to do things. Then, it becomes easier for you to adjust your play to his.
  3. JOIN in and PLAY with the child. When children decide what game they want to play and how they want to play it, they will consequently be leading the game. And the more they lead the more they learn because they will driven by their inner motivation.
  4. DON’T set YOUR RULES; don’t teach your child how to play before giving him the chance to discover the game first. Young children are not rule driven but spontaneous, free flowing and fun driven. For example, when a parent hands on a puzzle to his child, he usually feels the urge to teach him/her where to put each piece and how to put it, to rotate it or adjust it. But if the same parent stops for a second and watches his child play, his child might want to take the piece of puzzle, go to his playroom, get his dog and feed him pretending the puzzle is a piece of meat:) remember there’s no limit for the child’s imagination
  5. OFFER plenty of CHOICES and MATERIAL like educational games, cubes, squeezy toys, arts and crafts, cars, puppets, dolls, sand, kitchen set, cushions, costumes, dancing to the tunes....Always make sure to have them all organized and sorted out in his rooms.
  6. CHANGE the play area's LOCATION. Children can choose to play indoors or outdoors, in the room or in the living room and why not in the kitchen too; by simply offering a toy in a different location, you allow the child to discover a new way to play with his toy. You can also opt to putting away some toys for a short period of time and then offer it to the child later on. The child will be excited to rediscover this toy as if it was a new one. By letting the child play outdoors, he will learn how to take risks in his life, challenge himself, his peers and consequently gain confidence.
  7. Always CHALLENGE his ABILITIES but don’t let him experience repetitive failure. When you challenge his abilities he’ll enjoy the game more and would want to repeat it to master it. However, if the child is always asked to perform beyond his capabilities he’ll lose confidence and might fear the trial.