Playful Parenting

Building strong, close bonds between parents and children through play to join our kids in their world and help them to navigate their everyday struggles.

Expert: Dr Lawrence Cohen

Positive Parenting Conference by: A Fine Parent

TAKEAWAY 1:

The deepest way to connect with our child is through play, empathy and emotional connection.

TAKEAWAY 2:

When a child says “Will you play with me?” What they are really saying is “I need you.”

If you don’t meet their needs, they will look for attention or for you to meet their needs in other ways, often negative.

TAKEAWAY 3:

A few minutes of playtime with our kids every day entering their world can make a huge difference.

TAKEAWAY 4:

Giving our kids that sense of powerfulness and the sense of “winning” through play can alleviate power struggles. One can do this in a pillow fight game for example.

TAKEAWAY 5:

Mirroring how your child feels through play can be helpful. It’s not up to you to decide how your child should feel.

 

TAKEAWAY 6:

If you say a strategy or tool didn’t work, then you have the wrong expectation.

 

TAKEAWAY 7:

When a child says “Go away” you can meet their need by asking playfully “Is this far enough away?” We can be half-serious in a playful way, making sure we are not making fun of them. When they want you to go away, they are really communicating that they need space, whilst needing to know you are still there. You can offer that reassurance when they agree that you are far enough away by saying “I’m still here when you need me and I can come closer when you are ready, or you can come to me if you prefer.”

 

TAKEAWAY 8:

When you say “Don’t do that” to a child, two beliefs form:

1. "There is something wrong with me because I do want to do that!" or

2. "There is something wrong with you because you don’t understand."

It doesn’t build connection.

TAKEAWAY 9:

Aggressive play is not aggression. Join in the “love”. When a child says “I’m going to shoot you” you can say “Ah, you’re shooting me with the love gun!”

TAKEAWAY 10:

When a child says “I hate you” you can respond by saying “That’s a strong way to say that you are mad / sad / have upset feelings right now”.

TAKEAWAY 11:

Take what your child is saying or asking for seriously. If they are asking you to look at them, do that, for as long as they need you to. Fill their cup.

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Dr Lawrence Cohen

BOOK:

PLAYFUL PARENTING

Help children to

• Express and understand complex emotions
• Break through shyness, anger, and fear
• Empower themselves and respect diversity
• Play their way through sibling rivalry
• Cooperate without power struggles

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