Tag Archives: Parenting

Play Time Benefits Kids

dad playing with son for Heads Up DadStudies show that most children understand how to ‘pretend’ and use their imaginations at or around the age of two years old. Playtime builds the imagination which is a vital part of human development and supports growth and healthy development in children.

It’s important to be able to develop the use of the imagination because it helps children develop problem solving skills for the future.

Our imagination helps us to understand the use of symbols and therefore the skills of determining that one object can stand for another. It is essential in decoding which is necessary for abstract learning involving language, reading and math. The use of play in the development of the imagination helps us to explore situations and outcomes. In the act of play the use of everyday items is seen as symbols for something else. Often you might see a child use an object such as a pen to be used as a phone. or pan from the kitchen as a drum. Playing promotes the experimentation of various jobs and personalities. The mind hasn’t fully developed and by trying on different characters and behaviours the child can experiment by developing neural pathways in the brain which make us who we are. Play can also encourage the development of listening skills. Children often like to tryout different leadership roles or interactions with siblings and other people they come in contact with. It can help them make sense and interpret the social situations that happen in life, and the rules of social behaviour. For children facing behavioural difficulties with situations like perhaps a parental divorce, the use of play can provide a sense of control over their lives that they might not feel they have. This is why some children going through emotional difficulties may benefit from a trained professional play therapist or expressive art therapist. In extreme circumstances this recommendation to see a trained professional may be necessary.Father and son and the benifits of play with social skills

Play With Your Child to Help Develop Social Skills

A social skill is defined as any skills facilitating interaction and communication with others. Playing with your child can help develop social skills. The parallel play among toddlers and children can help the child interpret and learn the rules and social behaviors of everyday life. It’s important to set good examples during these pleasurable times with your child for they are looking for your coaching skills. These are verbal or nonverbal ways of communication. If healthy play is involved, children have the opportunity to act out different social behaviors in a safe fun way without emotional punishment. Role playing is perfect for learning social skills in a variety of situations, such as work, dinner parties, school and other relationship interactions. When your child wants you to sit with them and play at having a tea party then it’s best to be a perfect role model and sit down and listen. When it’s your turn to facilitate, this is a perfect opportunity for you to help teach listening skills as well. Explore situations and outcomes with your child. The possibilities are endless. Don’t forget to laugh with your child. If during play you see behaviour you don’t like to see in your child mimic a better type of behavioral response for your child and have fun.

Physical Development through Play

The benefits of physical development through the act of play speaks for itself. We all want to have healthy active children so they can have the best quality of life. If you don’t have the space and time to play a sport with your child, that’s ok. Use your imagination and problem solving skills. These are the skills you want to see your child develop. You don’t need a large amount of time to play with your child. Take 20 minutes in the day with your child and skip rope with them. Play hop scotch or grab a ball and play toss. Set up a little relay race in your living room if space is limited. Play a simple hide and seek game around the house or turn on music and dance with your son or daughter. This will help build hand eye coordination, strength, balance and reduce stress. Yes, children can experience stress too.

Emotional Well being

Play has a lot to contribute to the emotional well being of your children as well. Play can offer a sense of control and self esteem. Kids can work through their emotions through play such as storytelling and physical play. This can be their chance to share the experience of aggressive behavior they may have experienced with a sibling or friend at another time. Children going through a lot of emotional challenges in their life should be encouraged and supported to play. Don’t fret if you see your child working with Plasticine in an aggressive way. Allow them to expressive themselves, as long as they are not being destructive to anything other than the modeling clay. Don’t worry play is a healthy resource tool to express emotions that are difficult to share.

Parental Role

When playing with your child remember your role in the process. Kids look to you for your coaching skills and modeling behavior. Freedom of self expression is important for building self esteem. Let your child take a leadership role in the play as well and join in when invited. If you child only wants you to watch, watch. Listen to your child and take turns practicing this listening skill. Everything in life has limits and it`s important set safety boundaries, preferably beforehand, when playing with your child. Let you child know the time limits of the play if you may have to be interrupted. It can be very confusing for a child to think they are playing with you and then continue on when you have stopped this engagement. Make this transition from play into reality as clear as possible. For example, let them know that when the phone rings, play time is finished, and you have returned to your role as father. Also let them know the limits that involve safety for the reason that no one gets hurt. This is crucial. It`s important to engage in play with your child from time to time and also encourage them time to play with others as well. Set up play dates if you can with other families, and remember to enjoy.

Power Corrupts, Entitlement Corrupts Absolutely

  • “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power  corrupts absolutely.” – Lord Acton, 1887
  • “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who posses it.” – Earl of Chatham, 1770 

In light of recent events (Tiger Woods, anyone?), many would believe the above statements to hold true.  It seems, in our society, that increasing power inevitably leads to a complete erosion of moral and ethical boundaries.  Consider former US Attorney General Elliot Spitzer, or Senator John Edwards preaching family values as a campaign slogan while committing adultery.

However, power may not be the entire story.  I recently read an article in The Economist (Jan 23-29, pp. 75-76) that looked at a study by two professors (one in Europe and one in North America), who conducted a series of experiments to see if this was indeed true.  In the tests that they organized, they arranged so that one half of the group felt entitled to their power, whereas the other half did not.

What they found was interesting.  The research suggests that the individuals who were made to feel entitled to their power were far more likely to commit immoral or unethical acts than the group that was led to believe that they did not deserve their power.  In addition, the research went on to consider the actions of those in power who did NOT feel entitled to the power they were given.  Not only were they more likely to be much more harsh in the judgement of immoral acts, but as a group, they were also more harsh on themselves when judging their own acts than on others.

Huh.

So why did I bring this up in the money column?  I think that this is a very strong analogy about how people, and specifically children, act when confronted with money (note: this is my opinion now, but go with me here).  I have seen many clients come and go, and come to know their families relatively well over the years.  I have also listened to many people speak about the plans they have for their retirement and estate plans, and most feel that leaving “too much” money would have a negative effect on their families, or more specifically, their kids.

So how do we teach kids about money and responsibility?  There are loads of fantastic resources around the web.

However, we are often so preoccupied with saving and spending wisely ( heck, that is what this column is designed to discuss! ), that we fail to consider whether or not our culture (I must have this video game/car/home/toy/etc.) is making our children to feel entitled to the money that their families earn.  Parents may work their fingers to the bone to earn this stuff, but there is likely no activity, strategy or website that will teach them the importance and impact of money unless they learn they will have to earn it, not that they deserve it.

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Boys hit the zoo at High Park in Toronto

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If you are looking for a place to learn and grow as a person, a parent, a spouse, a partner, an employee, an entrepreneur or global citizen, you have come to the right place. HeadsUp Dad is here here for you.

Heads Up Dad is a support community for highly engaged and active Dads, wherever they may be. A resource pool of useful tools, interactive content, articles of interest and other illuminating stuff all designed to make the world a better place by helping Dads and Dads to be learn, grow and become the best we want to be.

Traditional Family dynamics have been changing over the years— so much so that modern day Fathers are increasingly evolving in their roles from traditional hunters and gatherers to become stay at home nurturers when the kids get sick, caregivers, support workers, cooks, cleaners, shuttlebus drivers, psycho-therapists, guidance counsellors and still, the charismatic and larger than life hero who is supposed to go out every day, change the world and bring home a paycheque.

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