In The Power of Parent-Child Play, I focus on how barriers to play can be broken into four different categories: time and energy limits, uncertainty about behavior or activities, lack of motivation, and family stress.
As we start this discussion, consider time and energy barriers. Do any of the following get in your way at the present time? Which have presented real struggles for you in the past?
- Hectic work schedules and demands (working at home or outside employment)
- Caring for your home and your family’s basic needs
- High-need children (including colicky babies, or children with special needs)
- A new baby
- A busy toddler or preschooler
- Volunteer activities
- Illness or injury in extended family
- Child related activities
Many of these busy activities are good and/or necessary. But do any of them interfere in some way with parent-child play and the intimacy it can bring?
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Photo by Elisa Sargent, 2010
5-Minute-Fun: Shadow Stomp
When you’re out on a walk together or your preschooler is riding his trike as you walk, he may lose steam before you can get back home.
Boost his motivation and energy by saying, “Don’t you dare run over my shadow!”
When he does (of course!) , scream in agony or moan.
An alternative is to play shadow tag. Try stomping on each others shadows before you can run to a place where your shadows are hidden in the shade of a tree or car.
It’s amazing how a kid who cries “Carry me, Mom, I’m too tired!” and slumps to the ground to demonstrate his exhaustion is suddenly energized by a game like this, then can easily make it all the way back home!
Enjoy the Spring weather . . . now that it’s finally here!
By the way: take a close look at the photo above. My 13-yr-old daughter photographed her friends spelling out the word LOVE with heart-shaped shadows below. How cool is that?
She loved to run over my shadow when she was little!
Note: This 5-Minute-Fun was excerpted from: Time to Get Out? Or Stay In!, Chapter 13, p. 193 in The Power of Parent-Child Play by Laurie Winslow Sargent (2003, Tyndale House Publishers).