Get Off the Couch!

Man relaxing on his couchHey there arm-chair parent!  GET OFF THE COUCH!  Get on the floor and start playing with your kids.  Yes, you’re busy.  Yes, you’ve got bills to pay.  Yes, life is much more stressful than when your parents were raising you.  But none of these are valid excuses for not spending time with your child!  Your children will be grown and out of the house before you know it.  You can watch TV then.  For now, make time to get up and play with your kids.

Child behavior problems most often occur because children are seeking their parent’s attention.  No child wants to be in trouble, but being in trouble is a sure-fire way to get one’s parents to pay attention to them.  To a kid, it’s better to be in trouble than to be ignored.

So you want to reduce your child’s behavior problems?  Start playing with them.  Show your child that you care about him and are interested in him.  Encourage activities that you both enjoy.  This will build a healthy foundation for your relationship and will do remarkable things in a short amount of time toward reducing the child behavior problems you face.

So what if you just don’t know how to play with your children?  Don’t laugh.  Don’t judge.  Just sit with this idea for a minute.  Do you really remember how to play?  Do you really know how to play with your kids and not just give a half-hearted half-hour to them?

If you don’t, you’re not alone.  TODAY had an interesting article about “Making the most of playtime when it doesn’t come naturally

I love this article!  I love that she’s brutally honest that some parents just don’t know how to play with their children.  Why does our society make this a source of shame for parents?  Instead, let’s encourage parents and help them learn to love playing with their kids.

Ideas for playing with your kids:

  1. Unstructured play. Get down on the floor with your kids and play. Get physical. Have a pillow fight. Have a tickle fight. Surprise them by playing on the floor with them!
  2. Structured play. For parents that find it hard to tap into their sillier side or who feel self-conscious having a dance party or pretending to play pirates, structured play is better than no playtime. Play a board game. Or make a craft together. Pintrest is awesome, but can be way too rigid and set up an ideal of perfection for you and your child’s finished product. Craft stores and Amazon have books. Check those out.
  3. Go on an outing. Do something physical. Go fishing. Go bowling. Go skating.   And actually bowl or skate with your child. Play catch at the park. Try exploring a children’s museum together and actually interact with your child in the exhibits. Whatever you do, don’t be the parent at the children’s museum texting on her phone. Can it get more pathetic than that?

Needs some more ideas or inspiration?  Need to feel like you’re not alone?  Check out this blog on 28 Days of Play.  Again, I love this piece.  I felt understood and inspired by lots of these stories.  But don’t get too lost in the blog that you forget to play with your children!

So let’s say you’ve started playing with your kids more.  Their behavior problems have reduced, but you still hear them fighting in the other room while you’re watching a movie.  Hit the pause button.  Get off the couch and go into the room where your kids are fighting.  Yelling from the couch does nothing to stop child behavior problems.  If you don’t care enough to get up, why should your child care enough to stop the behavior?

The message that you want to send your kids is that they are an important part of your life.  This will create a home built upon mutual respect and positive energy, and one that is faced with far fewer child behavior problems and less parent stress in the meantime!  Behavior Management Coaching can help make your home environment a positive one and end the power struggles today!  Talk to us today to see how we can help!