Teaching Parents to Play With Their Kids

I love to see parents evolve into great play partners for their children. Part of the therapy I do with kids is to educate their parents on how to be involved in building their child’s language.

Today I was working with a 2 1/2 year-old who is working on expanding his language and pretend play skills. He really enjoys the Fisher Price Sarah Lynn Camping Adventure–as do most kids so his mom was looking into ordering it. She ran across my review that I had posted on Amazon and was commenting on how helpful it was. I discussed the importance of letting your child be the director of play, while you are the producer. As the parent, you set out inviting toys and props to get your child’s imagination going and prompt a story. This mom said it changed how she played with her child all weekend. She would ask her child, “Where are they going?” or “What should they do now?” as he was moving his little people and vehicles around. When there was a lull in the action, she might give a suggestion, but then hung back again and followed his lead.

Actually it is a lot more fun to sit back and watch your child’s imagination take over. Kids think of things that we don’t. I was just playing with a two year-old with a companion Fisher Price set called the “Fairy Treehouse.” This little girl decided that the fairy should sleep in the barn with the unicorn and share his apples. Then her fairy stood in the trees, supervising the unicorn as he went for a swing. Let your child do the work because that is how she learns.

This entry was posted in 3-6 year-olds, Birth-3 year-olds, play, Preschool, Strategies to Encourange Language Development, Toys. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Teaching Parents to Play With Their Kids

  1. I also like using the same approach. I feel it helps plenty when the child leads the play and you just shape it for them. I’ve found that when kids are involved “voluntarily” with the activity, there’s so much more you can teach them then when you’re burning energy trying to engage them! I wanted to ask you though….I usually don’t like the kid having the same toy at home that I use in the office. I’ve found the novelty of the toy wears off for them and they are no longer interested in it. When I have a toy they don’t have access to other than my office, they’re more excited to play with it than if they had it and it became old for them. What are your thoughts on this?

  2. sherry says:

    Thanks for your comments. I agree, I would prefer that parents not run out and buy a toy that is effective in our therapy sessions but in the case of these Sarah Lynn toys, Fisher Price has a variety of toys within this category: a castle, carriage, camping set, tree house etc and then a variety geared more toward boys so parents could purchase a different set that we could combine in play.

    We certainly want to keep kids excited about playing with us!

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