Play to Connect: What Your Child Needs

Hello, dear conscious parent 💟!

Today I want to talk about PLAYING TO CONNECT with your child. Parents often say to me: “but I play with my child all the time! isn’t that connection?“. My answer is NO, that’s not connection; it’s time spent with your child, one in the physical presence of each other. That’s because, traditionally, parents approach playing with their child by:
  • dictating the play/game (Let’s play with your legos! Let’s play ball outside!);
  • controlling the play/ game (That’s not how you play it. Let me show you the rules!);
  • controlling the timing of the play (Game’s over now. Time for dinner!);
  • winning the game (You can’t catch me!);
  • overpowering the child (running faster, throwing further, kicking harder than the child).
Unfortunately, this approach to play doesn’t build connection; sometimes it creates even more disconnection between parent and child. We know from science that a child needs to FEEL SAFE first in order to develop the executive functions of the brain, build resiliency and stay curious about the world. We also know that a child’s primary (and prefered) language is PLAY. Through play, a child can heal fears, release frustrations accumulated in the day, and recover their self-esteem, IF WE PLAY TO CONNECT, which means:
  • follow your child’s lead; trust them to make the rules and change the rules as they wish;
  • do not question their game ideas and don’t ask too many questions;
  • take the less powerful role; be sloppy and silly and un-knowledgeable;
  • let them win over you;
  • do not tickle your child (never, ever!);
  • listen to their stories, fantasies, worries and emotions that may come up WITHOUT INTERRUPTING, or giving advice, or making judgements; just LISTEN with patience, interest and an open heart 💟
Books/ Article I recommend to help you play to connect with your child:
Playful Parenting, by Larry Cohen (click here)
Listen, by Patty Wipfler and Tosha Schore (click here)
Conscious Parenting of Your Toddler, by Mihaela Plugarasu (click here)
Why the Best Response for Bored Kids is To Be Bored With Them (click here)

Here’s what a parent in my Conscious Parent Accelerator Program told me this week:

Speaking of my course, here's what a parent in my Conscious Parent Accelerator Program told me this week:
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