Why family play is important

May 15, 2016 Published by

As parents, we all lead busy lives and are often pulled in all directions. So when the kids are playing quietly – or not so quietly, but happily – it’s the perfect opportunity to get some chores done and tick something off the never ending to-do list.

But sometimes, it’s really important to down tools and play along with the kids as a whole family. We’re not for one moment suggesting that you have to play every minute of the day when your child does, but scheduling in some family play time is really important for children.

family play can help form stronger bonds between parent and child

What are the benefits of family play?

  • It’s a chance for you all to relax. It’s important for adults to let their hair down sometimes as much as it is for children
  • It opens the channels of communication. If your child is often distracted by the latest YouTube video, apps or even homework, play can be a great opportunity to catch up with them again
  • Children play differently and develop different skills with different people. So the skills learnt from playing rough and tumble with a sibling will be very different to those gained from a board game with mum and dad, for example
  • Family time can help children to feel valued and part of the team
  • You’ll create great memories for when they’re all grown up and flown the nest
  • It will help form stronger parent-child relationships

Even if you are keen to get time to play together as a family, it can be difficult to find the time and also to get all the family keen to get involved.


Our tips below will help you to work play into your family routine.

  • The top tip though, is not to overthink it. Get involved, play, laugh, and you will soon start to see the benefits of family play. And you’ll probably start to really enjoy it and look forward to it as well as the kids.

  • Schedule in family play dates when you know everyone will be home and build the excitement with little ones in the lead up to it

  • Get outside and kick a ball around the garden, or play on the swings, or even go and build a camp in the woods. If the weather is bad, get the coats and wellies out and splash in the puddles. For more outdoor play ideas, click here

  • Start a board game tournament, where you keep scores each week. This will help you keep to regular play dates and will encourage children to get involved. All children love to beat their parents

  • Create teams for games. Mum goes with the youngest and dad goes with the eldest. This will create friendly rivalry and also help to open communication channels within the teams

  • Invite other family over to join in. The more cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. that get involved, the better

Play by Dr Amanda Gummer

Dr Gummer's debut book on Play is a Parenting and Child Development book, packed with activities and insights to help parents support their child through the critical first five years of life in a fun and relaxed way.


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This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer

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