Why Play and Quality Time with Children Matters

PLAY HELPS US KNOW OUR CHILDREN AND OURSELVES

When was the last time you observed (or engaged with) your children at play? It’s a simple question, one that offers a gauge into the level of busyness that exists in our day-to-day lives. You see, when we say yes to taking a moment to observe children at play, we say no to a myriad of other things that vie for our attention and dominate our day. It’s an important question to help us reflect on whether or not we’re honouring the moments that truly matter.

Asking ourselves whether or not we took notice of our children engaged in their own play is one way we can become more aware of how we spend our days, more aware of how intentional we are with our time, and more aligned with whether or not our choices nourish our relationships with our children. So we pose this question again, when was the last time you observed (or engaged with) your children at play?

THE IMPORTANCE OF SLOW LIVING

We think about this question often as we contemplate the complex lives we live focused on our schedules, checking things off of our to-do lists, and juggling the everyday bustle of our day. Whether each of us spends time with children at home, in a childcare setting, or in a school environment, the answer is telling. Essentially, this question helps us hold space for reflection and contemplation of our everyday lives.

It’s like putting a finger on our own pulse. We wonder whether or not we spend enough time exploring the art of slow living (monitoring our own heart rate), noticing the play our children enjoy (nourishing the joy in our hearts), engaging in play experiences of our own (keeping our hearts healthy), and giving ourselves the grace to slow down to breathe fresh inspiration into our spirit (pacing ourselves in life).

As we dig a little deeper, we invite you to join us as we ask ourselves about the last time we paused long enough to consider how our days are spent ~and how we’re nourishing our hearts ~ both metaphorically and literally.

THE MEANING OF LIFE

We find ourselves wondering about the meaning of life, and everything that fills our calendars and demands our time. We reflect on whether most of our moments are meaningfully connected, and perhaps even somehow intentional. For the most part, we recognize that throughout many times in our day, the answer is no. Can you relate?

It seems many can and we’ve learned through conversations with our community of parents and educators that much of our days are made up of timelines, responsibilities, and events that are outside of our control, unintentional, externally planned or expected by others, and driven by a structure that is intricately woven into the life and external clock of the world. It seems to us the big question has to do with how we connect meaningfully with our children.

SO WHAT ARE WE TO DO?

What about our heart-driven intentions for living, our wishes around how we spend our time, and the unstructured pathways of play and joy that call our name each and every day? What we’re hearing from many of our friends and colleagues is that more times than not our plans, wishes, and dreams for our children, ourselves, and our families get swept under the carpet for yet another day?

Is it all for nothing~ a hope we’ll forever hold in our soul but never attain in our lives and fail at sharing with our children? Are these wishful moments of quality time and connection with our children, our inner voice, our innate way of being, and our authentic sense of self never to be?

We wonder whether there is a pathway back to an intentional way of life that might provide us with the simple joie de vivre we long for; a way of living that will empower us to share playful moments, meaningful relationships, and purposeful intentions in our day alongside our children.

PLAY WITH CHILDREN

Play research has proven that there are tremendous benefits to play in the early years. For parents, play can be a pathway for us to nurture meaningful relationships with children. When we take time to slow down and play with children, we make time for quality connections with young children.

Our children matter and by taking time to nourish children through childhood play, whether we engage or observe children playing, we give ourselves permission to slow down our daily lives. We learn to enjoy slow living to share time with children. Dr. Stuart Brown talks about helping our world understand the critical importance of participating in play throughout life. His research shows that play stimulates brain development, language acquisition, communication skills, motor skills, problem-solving, social development, and emotional growth for children. Equally as important, his research proves the benefits of play for adults, as well as the benefits of play for children.

WHY SHARE TIME WITH CHILDREN

Playing with children is one of the best ways to nurture bonds between parent and child. Educators who play with children know the relationships that emerge. Educators know that research supports the social and emotional development of children in the early years. They know of the power of play as a way to understand the thinking of children. Parents and educators know of the meaningful connections that develop between young children and adults when they spend quality time playing together. The social bonds that emerge through play are evident and are shared among young children and their caregivers.

Oftentimes, parents and educators ask, what simple play ideas can I offer children? They often go on to ask, what simple play ideas can I offer children that take little time to prepare? They also ask, how do we make time to play with children when our schedules are full?

HOW TO SHARE TIME WITH CHILDREN

Simple ideas for playing with children need not be complicated. Play can be easy with materials that are free. Natural materials for open-ended play bring hours of joy to children. Play can be highly engaging for young children. When we take time to observe (or engage in) play with children, we create opportunities for quality time with materials that are simple and fun. Play can be as easy as using sand, water, play dough, role play, painting, block play, music, dance, and singing. We challenge ourselves to make time for the important moments in our lives; the essential time we share with our children.

If you’re looking for activities and ideas for hours of fun and simple ideas for play that are easy to set up, we’ve got the perfect play guide created for parents and educators. The ℕ ℂ ℙ are ready for you. You can access the entire bundle of 49 play ideas that will support you in your efforts to slow down and share quality time with children. Complete with 7 guides full of parenting goodness and perfect for educators alike, our play ideas will bring the benefits of play to your children.

Taking time to ask ourselves whether or not we took notice of our children engaged in play is one way we can become more connected to our children, and more aware of how we manage our time. Slowing down in life will help us to consider whether we are intentional with our time and whether we are choosing to spend quality time with our children to nurture relationships. When was the last time you observed (or engaged with) your children at play?

IT’S YOUR TURN

As always, I welcome you to share something that you do in your own life to encourage play with your children. In what ways do you see the benefits of play emerging through your children? How does play help you become more present with your children? Are you able to become more present with your children? Your ideas are important and they bring new ideas and perspectives to our community. Please share in the comment section below. The world needs your voice. Now is your chance to share it!

Susan

Founder ~ Nurtured Inspirations nurturedinspirations.com

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DIVE DEEPER INTO PLAY

If you’re looking for more ideas to inspire play with your children, take a peek at our Nurture Childhood Play Guides created for parents, homeschoolers, and educators. This bundle is jam-packed with 7 Play Guides featuring 49 inspirations for play! Whether you have a toddler, preschooler, or school-aged children this bundle is for you!Learn more here

If the contents of this blog resonates with your heart, you’re invited to gather with us over at community.nurturedinspirations.com.

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