Photo Credit: Yohanes Sanjaya

I once read somewhere that your child’s favourite plaything is you.  These words really struck me and serve as a constant motivator everyday.

I absolutely adore playing with my son. Inventing new games, combining toys and creating voices, storylines or just general messing about. I love all of it. At Christmas, I was just as excited as he was, because I was getting bored of the toys he already had and looked forward to some new experiences.

The same can’t be said for everyone, sadly. I’ve lots of parents who choose to place a screen between them and their child at all times. They spend more time interacting with their phone or tablet, then get frustrated and shout at their child when they yell for some attention. They scold them for being ‘naughty’ or ‘whiny’ and point over to the toy box for the child to entertain themselves.

I’ve seen it time and time again and it makes me really sad.

Your child’s toy box is just a box of stuff without you putting your imagination into it and helping them learn how to move, push, pull, touch, interact or play with them. You can teach a child so much though toys. For instance, my son wasn’t very cuddly for a time, so I would occasionally hold a stuffed toy to my neck and say “Ahh”. This became behaviour that he copied on his toys and adults.

Sure, there’s times when all of us need a little break and glance at our phones – but don’t let your default position be on the sofa, disengaged from playtime. Introverts often have incredible imaginations and are uniquely gifted at creative play.

Don’t miss out on active playtime. My niece is 8 years old and I still love it when she asks me to play something with her. One day, that might not be the case. Your child may never remember your playtime specifically, but it will imbue them with skills and abilities and intellect that will shape their lives forever.

Are You Making the Most of Playtime?