Why Playful Parenting is Beneficial to your Child’s Development
Dr Amanda Gummer’s new book Play offers a refreshing alternative to all the ‘How To’ books that parents are bombarded with. The great news is that having fun with your child really is the best way of helping him/her develop. Not only does playful parenting reduce stress, promote attachment and increase enjoyment of parenting, it’s also really really beneficial for baby’s development.
Based on highly acclaimed research by leading experts (e.g. Vygotsky, Piaget, Sameroff, Bruner, Gardner) in the field of child development, and Amanda’s years of research and experience working with children and families, Play promotes development in a natural, holistic way that allows parents to meet their own needs as well as those of their child, and have fun along the way. The importance of enjoying the formative years can not be over-stated and the pressure on parents to hothouse their children or follow the latest fad is huge. Amanda wrote Play to help everyone enjoy family life a little more and to give parents support in encouraging playfulness – the benefits of which can last a lifetime.
Many new parents feel overwhelmed by the list of things they ‘ought’ to be doing for their children. Play strips all of that pressure away and explains the developmental progression that children will go through in the first 5 years to give parents confidence and understanding to make informed decisions about their family life. What the book does not do is give parents another list of things they should be doing with their child. The benefits of playing alone and with siblings are explained and parents are encouraged to meet their own needs and not feel like they need to entertain their children 24-7. Instead, the book offers ideas and advice on ways of engaging even the youngest children in family life in a playful way that promotes attachment and holistic development.
The book promotes the concept of a balanced play diet and there are ideas and tips to create playful activities as well as advice on what toys children are likely to engage with at different stages of development. There are trouble shooting sections that deal with common issues faced by parents at different stages of development. Whilst the book is split into chapters based on ages to make it easy to find relevant information, Amanda is keen to stress that children develop at different rates and that chapters should not be read in isolation. Parents can get lots of ideas for games and activities from chapters that are aimed at younger children – many of the games are introduced at the earliest point that they can be played in their simplest form but can be enjoyed and extended for years.
Dr Gummer’s approach is based on her Parent-Centred Parenting model of family life, which explains how the best thing parents can do for they children is to give them happy, healthy, stable role models to learn from. Amanda is passionate about helping parents understand the basics of child development to empower them to make decisions to benefit the whole family. The transactional model, as proposed by Sameroff, explains how factors all interact with each other to produce an outcome. Helping parents relax and create a more playful environment promotes a virtuous circle of positive parenting where parents feel supported, confident and relaxed. Children naturally copy their parents and will therefore thrive, which helps parents feel more confident and relaxed and so the cycle goes on. Real life has its ups and downs but by giving parents the tools and information they need to make informed decisions about their family life, rather than a check list of things that ‘good parents’ ought to do, we are empowering parents and providing our children with models of parenting that they will use if/when their turn comes.Tags: communication, dr amanda, Dr Gummer, learning through play, parenting, parenting advice, play ideas, playful parenting
This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer