When you were young and imagined what life would be like with kids, I’m sure you envisioned playing games with them, taking family adventures, and teaching them how to ride a bike. You imagined reading books together and sharing heartfelt conversations.
But once the children arrive, and you come home feeling exhausted after a long day, playing with your child might seem like a chore. All you want to do is collapse on the couch and relax. And then, just as you sit down and take off your shoes, you hear: “Mommy! Daddy! Will you come to play with me please?”
At that moment, the thought of playing with your child might seem overwhelming and exhausting. But stop and think for a moment about all the long-term benefits—mentally, physically, and socially—for your child when he plays and especially when he plays with you. Engaging fully with your child in play offers a wonderful opportunity to build your child’s self-esteem. Imagine how your child must feel, knowing that the most important person in their world likes them enough to take the time to play with them.
And the truth is if you don’t play with them sometimes, no one else will. Quite simply, you might be living somewhere where your child has no one close in age to play with. What do you expect them to do? Play by themselves? You’re making sure they get an active start in life despite the awkward circumstance of not having playmates.
Furthermore, you discover the joy of play again, there can be much laughter and pleasure in movement and play. When was the last time you experienced it? You’re never too old to play, and there’s no shame in hanging out with children and acting like a kid yourself.
At the end of the day, fostering the habit of playing with your children is a great first step in making your child more cooperative because you give him the attention he deserves.