5-Minute-Fun, Parent-Child Play: What Gets in the Way?

Interview with Ask Anne on parent-child play

In a  recent interview with Pathways Professional Counseling (a network of 35 counseling offices in Alabama) I was asked some thought-provoking questions. Here’s a portion of the interview, posted at their Ask Anne blog.

Q. What inspired you to write The Power of Parent-Child Play?

A. Laurie: When I began writing 23 years ago, I had an insatiably curious son. He constantly demanded that I spell for him or teach him how things worked. It was thrilling and exhausting. Consequently, I began inventing spontaneous games to keep him interested and found it fun for me too. At the same time I was working as a licensed certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA), modifying activities through play to help children with developmental delays or learning disabilities. Every child had something to teach me back.

As I played similar games with my other two children I learned even more. My three kids grew up in a learning laboratory because so much of what we learned together became fodder for articles I wrote for parenting magazines, including Parenting and Christian Parenting Today.

Meanwhile, other mothers would ask how play came naturally to me, and why I enjoyed it so much. I realized how much my background in occupational therapy helped me understand small components in play and learning, which adds excitement to parenting. I believe parents can learn those same principles to connect with, teach, and enjoy their own kids.

However, many interviews revealed to me that play does not come naturally to all parents, and those who are comfortable with it experience other barriers. I realized that out of all the parenting books I’d read up to that point, I hadn’t seen a single one addressing barriers to play for parents. None of them focused on how to enjoy play despite parent-child personality conflicts, sibling squabbling, family stress, lack of time and energy, etc. Few also focused on how beneficial play can be for parents.

Q. Do you have a favorite activity you write about in your book?

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