20 Minutes a Day–Just Play!

Just 20 minutes a day of playtime with your child can make a huge impact on your parent-child relationship, in your child’s behaviors, and in your child’s development. While it is important for children to play alone and to play with other children without adult interventions, we can’t overlook the huge benefit of parent-child playtime.

Children crave their parents’ attention. It makes your child feel special and important. Plus, special one-on-one time drastically reduces the likelihood that our child will be argumentative, disrespectful, or frequently get in trouble. Because your child is getting positive attention, he will be less likely to seek out negative attention by doing things to get him in trouble.

Imaginative play is a great way to spend playtime with your child. Let your child develop the story and get into their world. Let them get creative and go with it. If the trash cans are dragons, then attack those trash cans with a vengeance!

If you struggle with getting into your child’s imaginative world, but still want to participate, start by acting out stories. Act out simple children’s stories like the Three Little Pigs or Goldilocks and the Three Bears. As you and your children warm up, these stories just might take on a new direction!

If getting silly just isn’t your thing, then there are tons of other ways to spend special play time with your child.

  • Play outside. Throw balls. Push your kids on swings or play on a playground. Go on a walk around the neighborhood. Take a nature hike.
  • Play games – card games – board games—kids games like “I Spy” or Hide and Seek.
  • Make a craft project together—paint a picture.
  • Cook together—bake cookies.
  • Listen to music together. Sing along. Get out the guitar or keyboard and make music. Have a dance party.
  • Read a book together.
  • Share your hobbies with your child. Take them fishing or bowling with you. My daughter loves to rock out to 90’s Alternative Rock (from my ancient cd’s) with me.

Playing with your children will build a bond that will last forever. While we tell our children that we love them, spending quality play time with your kids shows them that you love them. Remember, just 20 minutes a day of one-on-one play time with your child will make a huge positive impact on your relationship with your child!