Now is the time to play with your kids. Whatever their age. Why now? Because it is February and it is dreary outside and school continues, day after day after day. It seems FOREVER until summer. It feels like there will never be an end to tests, quizzes, having to pay attention.
Just any kind of play? Well, yes. Ah, no. . . .
I watched my husband play with our bored dog yesterday. He growled, he lunged, he grabbed, he chased–and that was my husband. Layla? She perked right up and began to bark and chase and run circles around the furniture. When my husband wore out, Layla looked a little confused. She had just started to have fun–what was the matter with her playmate? She finally threw herself down at the side of his chair, sighed and looked quite forlorn.
Later, in-between gales of rain and wind, I got a walk in with Layla. I continued to give her commands (we always work on “left” and “right”–I think she knows she is to do something, as she stops and looks at me, but her percentages for correct guesses as to the right way to turn still remain at about 50%). By the time we had made our 40 minute loop and I was ready to go home, Layla was a little less jaunty, but still would have preferred a longer walk.
Chaotic play that has a lot of running around and not a lot of rules? It has its place, at times. Structured play with many more rules, less running around? It has its place, usually having to do with more interactive play, sharing and being able to accomplish a task.
Optimal Play would be the ability to provide kids with the ability to PLAY within a boundary of safe rules, while the kids have more responsibility for the positive outcome of what is given as “success.” This gives kids increased creative stimulation, along with increased appropriate social and emotional practice.
Enjoy the gray and dreary of February and March. Practice PLAY to take the dreary out of Boring.
Be gentle with yourself and your children.