Importance and benefits of playing with our children in family development

For the specialist Inés AFonso Marques, time to play with our children is not given the deserved importance "Playing should be as obligatory as brushing your teeth", emphasizing that "through play we can transmit a set of lessons and learning opportunities for the children”

Throughout 14 years of clinical practice with children and parents, the Portuguese psychologist Inés lfonso Marques has gotten used to hearing the little ones complain about their parents' lack of time to play. "And the parents confirm that they do not have time and cannot play with their children," he laments.

For her it is common to "prescribe" 15 minutes of daily play to families, something she calls special time. "In a short time, improvements are noticeable in terms of humor, which reduce the number of tantrums, improve self-esteem and satisfaction," says the professional, who has just published the book 'Playing is also educated' in her country.

Playing should be as mandatory as brushing your teeth

For Afonso Marqués, the deserved importance is not given to time to play and the participation of parents in this activity. "Playing should be as obligatory as brushing your teeth", emphasizing that “through play we can transmit a set of lessons and learning opportunities for children”. In addition, parents "tend to be their children's favorite playmates."

The professional wants to "demystify the idea that it takes a long time" to play. “If there is time to spare, wonderful. But 15 special minutes a day, in which parents are really focused on their children, can be enough to convey important opportunities to children, ”he explains.

Play makes a significant difference in growth and family dynamics

“Fifteen minutes a day can make a very significant difference in a child's growth and family dynamics. In addition to emotional ties, there are many abilities that can be stimulated.", for example, to creativity, imagination, the ability to solve problems, the discovery of emotions.

"That time is a kind of test tube in which children experience a variety of skills that they will be able to apply in real life in the future."

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In the specialist's opinion, there needs to be flexibility: give children space and time. “Playing implies getting dirty, messy, making noise. All of this makes the games very rich.”, it is unfortunate that children play less and less outdoors: "there is almost illiteracy to play", he assures, and highlights the lost negative of "rich contact with nature: climbing trees, playing with water, creating stories in different scenarios”.

Games according to the stages and ages of the boys and girls

The psychologist offers suggestions for activities applicable up to early adolescence. However, he warns, "from there, the 15 minutes are still important, but the form of interaction will not be so much through the same games as before." After the age of 12 or 13, special minutes can be enjoyed, for example, with board games, races, sports, bike rides or even cooking something together.

Here are some of the simple but entertaining games that Afonso Marqués suggests to play as a family.

set of objects

Imagine different objects: a shoe, a red ball, a book, a chair, a sheet, a box. Together, try to think of new roles for each of them. Who is more creative? Parents or children? Since the game does not involve being in the presence of objects, it can be done anywhere. It's a simple activity that stimulates creativity, curiosity, and problem-solving skills.

Mystery Boxes

Place various objects in boxes on a table. Blindfold the children and challenge them to guess what the objects are, stimulating the senses. You can use, for example, cinnamon powder, tea, fragrant flower petals, salt, sand, pencil shavings, cotton balls, foamplast, pellets, chalk, gelatin, shaving foam, rubber bands, fruit peels, rice grains and endless possibilities.

calendar of affections

It is about making a calendar of activities that stimulate affection. They can schedule a day for the children to cook dinner (supervised by adults), receive a massage before bed or -in summer- enjoy a hose bath in the patio. These are simple activities that stimulate emotions and strengthen family bonds. They can also build an anti-stress box for the whole family, whose objects will help bring calm in times of anxiety.

toys without toys

Draw each other and hang the works for a few days in a visible place. Share a picnic, read a book together, plant a tree, have a pillow fight. Inés Afonso Marques suggests dancing with the family, jumping into puddles, going on a treasure hunt, testing motor skills and patience with origami, designing a family coat of arms, among many and varied possibilities. There are many activities that do not need special objects. As simple as taking a dip in the sea.

Information from Montevideo Portal. Original article

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