Christian Parenting Challenge #11 – Play With Your Children

Christian Parenting Challenge #11 – Play With Your Children

Challenge 11
Play with your children

Boy playing

Playing is learning, and playing together is learning with added fun!
Small children love it when you play with them. It’s not always easy to find the time to do that, though. With the never-ending round of chores and responsibilities, playing can easily get unintentionally sidelined. However, we are seriously missing out if we don’t play with our children – and they are missing out, too. So today’s challenge is to play together!

Benefits of playing
The benefits of playing are enormous, for you and your children . . . so definitely worth taking time out for. Here are a few benefits (many are on the learning theme, but not all!):
Helps with self-discipline: “keeping the rules”.
Refreshes mind and body.
Playing relieves stress.
Playing can aid creativity and problem-solving.
Some games create a challenge to overcome.
It’s great to win!
And it’s great to learn to lose graciously.
Playing builds social skills, e.g. taking turns.
Playing together aids communication skills.
Playing should be lots of fun.
The simple act of playing with our children can bring about all these amazing benefits. It’s also a great way to balance discipline, and for you to take yourself less seriously. Fancy being a pirate? 🙂

A few random thoughts
If your child needs help in a particular area, you might like to think about a game that could help, e.g. a number game if they struggle with maths. But only if it’s fun, OK? 🙂
Games should give everyone playing an equal footing, or it’s only fun for those who have a better chance of winning, or who are in charge of the “rules”.
Competition can separate rather than unite – watch out for this!

So what could you do?
Games don’t have to be board games – they can be games of chase in the park, ball in the garden, pirates in the living room, teddy bears’ picnic in a bedroom . . . with imagination, there are no limits!
Whatever you play, whether it’s building towers of blocks with a baby, trains with a toddler, snakes and ladders with older children, doing a jigsaw puzzle, building a spaceship, dressing dolls, or competing on a computer game, don’t do it half-heartedly.
Engage fully with your children – make it fun, keep eye contact, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by other things, and try not to be too bossy. (Oh, and don’t allow them to be too bossy either!)
If you have a time limit, say so at the beginning, so your children know you will only be able to play one game, or will have to tidy up at seven o’clock, say. That way there won’t be unrealistic expectations.

The time trick
As parents, we need to cultivate the habit of playing with our children while they are small. If we haven’t spent time with them when they have wanted us there, they might not want us to spend time with them when they are older.
If the years have taken you unawares and they don’t seem to want to be with you, do not feel despondent. Never give up – remember, it’s all up from here, because you have decided to make a change! Sometimes older children can be cajoled to join in a game, but if not, keep asking from time to time. At least that way they will know that you are now wanting to spend time with them. Keep praying that one day they will say yes. You could ask what they would like to play – but be prepared to be thrashed at their favourite computer game!
The time when our children are children is such a narrow window – we absolutely must make time to play with them while we can. It’s a trick of time to say “tomorrow”, because those precious hours tick away and it’s all too easy for tomorrow to become today, then tomorrow never comes.
So, go play today, and have fun!

Over to you!
Decide whether to play with all your children together, or play with them separately.
What do they love to play? What do you like to play? If you can choose something you both enjoy, so much the better! Jot down a few ideas in your notebook.
Go find your children and make some suggestions.
Enjoy your game!
Let us know how it went: www.facebook.com/christianparentingchallenge We’d love to see some photos of you playing together. 🙂

“Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21

For the future:
Make playing with your children an essential part of your life.

Are you getting too comfortable? (Lethargic?)

There is so much more to life than watching DVDs!

There is so much more to life than watching DVDs!

Following on from the last post, here are so many benefits of taking on a challenge! It’s so much easier to sit in a chair and watch a DVD, but there’s so much more to life than that.

There are many personal benefits to taking on a challenge – there are even more of working with your children! Here are a few:

  • Promotes unity/bonding.
  • Aids communication.
  • Makes shared memories.
  • Each person can discover skills they didn’t know they had.
  • Prepares children for real life challenges.
  • Overcoming challenges makes us feel fully alive.
  • Builds closeness.
  • Builds self-confidence.
  • Builds confidence in each other.
  • Helps overcome fears.
  • Promotes perseverance.
  • If we never try something new, we will miss so many good things in life.
  • Aids with problem-solving.
  • Can encourage honest prayer!
  • Promotes healthy respect for risk-taking.
  • If the challenge doesn’t go well, lessons can be learned for the future.

And remember that failure is only failure when we fail to get back up! Otherwise, every “failure” is merely a step on the path to success. Having learnt what didn’t work, you can then go on to try, try and try again . . .

So what could you do?
Here are some ideas for challenges to take up with older children:

  • Go on a charity walk/run.
  • Learn how to read a map.
  • Learn how to set up a website.
  • Try a new sport.
  • Try going a whole day without saying anything negative.
  • Take up a new hobby.
  • Try cooking something new together for the family/friends.
  • Go in for that competition that you have been considering for years!
  • Try abseiling or plan a parachute jump.
  • Try living on a tiny amount of cash for a week (great for teens!).
  • Live without electricity for a week.
  • Sleep rough for a night.
  • Plan a hike/trek.

You will be able to think of lots more possibilities – if something is coming into your mind right now, that could well be the challenge for you. 🙂
There are fewer challenges suitable for young children that will also be a challenge for you. Still, give it a go – perhaps you could address one of your own fears? Or make it a challenge for them and make sure they know you will be there for them. Here are some challenges you might like to take on with younger children:

  • Go on a scary ride/big slide.
  • Try a new food.
  • Learn to ride a bike/rollerskate.
  • Write a poem or story together.
  • Find a new way to do something.
  • Try a challenging new game.
  • See how long you can sit still/jump up and down, do star jumps . . . (they might outdo you!).
  • Follow a recipe.
  • Make a dragon (or something challenging) from modelling clay.

If you don’t have the time to begin a challenge today, aim take the first steps in planning it – go on, you know you want to! 🙂

How many benefits are there to playing with your children?

Greece 032Sometimes it’s ridiculously hard to find the time to just stop and play with our children. It’s a shame, because there are so many benefits to play, and so much our children can learn from the way we play with them. And we are missing out on so much for ourselves, too, if we don’t stop and play!

Here are a few benefits of playing together (many on the learning theme, but not all):
• Helps with self-discipline: “keeping the rules”.
• Refreshes mind and body.
• Playing relieves stress.
• Playing can aid creativity and problem-solving.
• Some games create a challenge to overcome.
• It’s great to win!
• And it’s great to learn to lose graciously.
• Playing builds social skills, e.g. taking turns.
• Playing together aids communication skills.
• Playing should be lots of fun.
The simple act of playing with our children can bring about all these amazing benefits. It’s also a great way to balance discipline, and for you to take yourself less seriously. Fancy being a pirate? 🙂

A few random thoughts
• If your child needs help in a particular area, you might like to think about a game that could help, e.g. a number game if they struggle with maths. But only if it’s fun, OK? 🙂
• Games should give everyone playing an equal footing, or it’s only fun for those who have a better chance of winning, or who are in charge of the “rules”.
• Competition can separate rather than unite – watch out for this!

 

May the Lord bless you as you play!