Playful Parenting: Part One

I'm really not the one to talk to about Playful Parenting. Ask my husband, he's usually much better at it. But I want to do better. Especially recently when faced with many daily power struggles. Yes, I do have a three-year-old.

So the questions weighing on my mind have been:

1) Can this youngster be taught lessons of responsibility and cause ----> effect and sharing and kind behavior and taking a "no" with grace...{etc}...without punitive actions such as spankings, time-outs, uh, ya, just spanking and time-outs, I guess...*big question mark*

2) Wouldn't other methods {such as playful redirection or beating around the bush} fail to teach the important lessons and possibly spoil the child?

3) How can I really best teach my child to be thoughtful, considerate, responsible? I obviously don't want to hurt or spoil.

Tough stuff. 

Is this really the time to break out "tickle monster" or a game of chase? I don't believe so. He's at a stage where he needs to make the connection between how his behavior affects the way his world turns. Distraction worked when he was two, long, persistent chats (tough love) may be the only way to go now that he's three.

"Crining" {my new word} will not get you what you want.

But believe me, I think that playful parents will have a definite advantage with their children when it comes to these tough times.

"Play, with all its exuberance and delighted togetherness, can ease the stress of parenting. Playful parenting is a way to enter a child's world, on the child's terms, in order to foster closeness, confidence, and connection. When all is well in their world, play is an expansive vista where children are joyful, engaged, cooperative, and creative.

Play is also the way that children make the world their own, exploring, making sense of all their new experiences, and recovering from life's upsets. But play is not always easy for adults, because we have forgotten so much. Indeed, children and adults often seem to reside in radically different worlds, even within the same house-hold. We find each other's favorite activities boring or strange: How can she spend all afternoon dressing up Barbies? How can they sit around all evening just talking?" {emphasis mine}

Taken from Playful Parenting by Lawrence J. Cohen, PH.D. 

Indeedy. I have forgotten how to play. And being an "S" and not an "N".....have never naturally had the desire or inclination to engage in much pretend play

One thing that really works well {at times} for Peter is the "button trick". "Where's the button to push to get you out of the bath?" "Oh, here's your volume dial...I'm turning it down..." He {sometimes} responds really well to this. I would put this in the realm of playful parenting.


I'm really not able to do more than scratch the surface with this book. Other topics in the first three chapters include filling a child's love cup that may be cracked or leaking, symptoms of powerlessness and isolation, aggressive play, tuning in to your child's needs, and much more. It's jam packed.

The topic I'm still mulling over is misbehavior being somehow rewarded by play. Any thoughts on that?? 

If you want to participate in an online book club while reading this book, check out Code Name: Mama.