Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how challenging discipline situations can be met with play. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Play is not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of getting cooperation from our kids – but it is essential to the parent-child relationship, and really truly useful (and fun!) in pretty much every moment.
There are times that merit respect as understood from an adult’s perspective. Sometimes, I feel that it’s totally appropriate to expect that children obey mommy and daddy. . . but in general, we parents are way too hard-headed when it comes to achieving cooperation and getting respect from our kiddos.
This ALWAYS includes play. I didn’t realize it before, but I find it essential knowledge now. Our children are pretty much always engaged in some sort of play. . . whether it’s pretend play, physical play, singing songs, doing dances, experimenting with things, or making up stories. . . it’s ALL play to them, every moment of every day. It’s difficult for us as parents to understand the world-view of a child, engrossed in a playful reality – because for us, everything is work. Yes, some work is enjoyable. . . but until the work is done, there is no time for play – that is our reality. To think of living an entire day (let alone having an entire existence) based completely in the enjoyment of trial and error, goofing around, and singing songs just doesn’t make sense to us. And our world-view, all logical and rule-based and task-related doesn’t make sense to our children.
It was actually in watching my husband interact with my child that I realized how her cooperation is so much easier to attain while playing. In our home, we have “after breakfast” and “after dinner” chores. All of us have tasks to do, and there is a specific time set aside to do them after meals. We pick up toys (mom and dad’s toys too!), we clean the surfaces and the floors, we put away laundry, and prepare for the day ahead. Having a routine helps us all to be motivated to do chores. . . but it doesn’t mean that our preschooler is always cheerfully obedient in picking up her things. Quite the contrary.
But a few nights ago, my husband got her to finish her chores (and help him to his!) in record time. I was only half-way through my responsibilities for the evening, and those two were going outside to do some celebratory bike riding before bed.
“Where are you two going?” I asked, perplexed.
“I got Abbey to do all her chores and help me with mine. And she didn’t even know she was doing work” he bragged, with a little wink.
All he did was just mix work with play, and voila – Abbey felt respected, chores got done, and daddy got the cooperation he needed. Now. . . if I could just remember to embrace play more often. Here are some ideas that have been helping me remember to get playful more often.
Make it a game. This is what my husband did. He told Abbey that it was time for chores in two minutes. Then they played a tossing game up and down the stairs with Abbey’s favorite ball for those two minutes. After the two minutes was up, My husband started throwing toys that needed to go in Abbey’s room, clothes that needed putting away, etc. and told her that she got extra points for catching the non-ball items and putting them where they belonged. She loved it, did her chores, and he had fun, too!
When in doubt, sing! I’ve mentioned this before, but now that Abbey is really into song and dance, it’s even more useful (and fun!) One song that I’ve made up that has been especially popular lately is the “Angry Song” It goes loosely to the tune of “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush” and talks about different things we can do when we’re angry that allow us to get our frustrations out and calm down – while still being kind.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- On being a more playful parent — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares how the Playful Parenting book impacted her.
- Parenting a toddler through play — Alicia at I Found My Feet lists some examples of how she uses play to parent through everyday tasks and challenges.
- Splashing in Puddles — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares how she learned to get dirty and have fun with her little boy.
- Say Please — Cassie at There’s a Pickle in My Life explains how they taught their son manners by “play,” showing that actions speak louder than words.
- No Nanny Needed — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life wishes parenting through play was her only responsibility during the day.
- I’ll Run Away With Gypsies — Nikalee at Spotted Pandemonium maneuvers physical and emotional obstacles while spinning playful tales, jumping through hoops, and inspiring the kids to clean the living room.
- A Promise To My Daughter — Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure writes a poem for her daughter promising to use play instead of anger when facing difficult situations.
- Parenting Through Play — Not Always Easy But Always Rewarding — Amy at Peace4Parents discusses how play hasn’t always come easily to her, the power of appreciative observation, and how her family learns together through play.
- Imagination Plays a Role in Our Parenting — Tree at Mom Grooves shares how parents can use play to set the foundation for communication and understanding.
- A Box of Crayons — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction talks about how a simple box of crayons has become a wonderful parenting and teaching tool.
- The Essential Art of Play — Ana at Pandamoly shares some of her favorite lessons available for young ones through play.
- The Art of Distraction — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares a list of distracting alternatives to harsh punishments in tough parenting situations.
- Grace and Courtesy Games at Home or School — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now has ideas for grace and courtesy games that help you encourage courteous behavior without reprimanding your child.
- I am woman, hear me roar! — Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares how one simple sound can diffuse an argument in an instant.
- Getting Cooperation Through Play — Amyables at Toddler In Tow talks about respecting the worldview of a preschooler by using play to encourage connection and cooperation.
- Playful Parenting = Extra Energy?? — Momma Jorje didn’t think she had the energy for playful parenting. See what she was surprised to learn…
- Dance Party Parenting — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen learned how to be the parent her children need through play.
- Wrestling Saved My Life — Wrestling is as vital to her son’s well-being as babywearing once was, finds Hannah at Wild Parenting.
- Parenting through play — By playing with her children, Tara from MUMmedia is given amazing opportunites to teach, train and equip her children for life.
- Parenting Through Play Starts in Infancy — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Issa from LoveLiveGrow shares that though she only has a 3-month-old, playful parenting has already started.
- Play Before Sleep — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how playing and singing with her son before he falls asleep helps calm her frustrations that tend to arise at night.
- Playful Parenting — Or 5 Lessons My Son Has Taught Me About Parenting Through Play — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama has learned to be a better parent by following her toddler’s lead in play.
- Hurry up! Hurry up! I mean it! Quack, quack, quack! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life leads a trail of ducklings
- On the Road: Learning to Play — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers her inner adult through a summer of playing with her children.
- Preventing Tantrums Through Play — Gaby at Tmuffin explains how she keeps her household happy by not taking things too seriously.
- Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play — Lily, aka Witch Mom, redirects unwanted behavior in a toddler using games and play.
- Exaggerating for effect — Lauren at Hobo Mama has learned how to ham it up.
- Handling Big Emotions with Role Playing — Zoie at TouchstoneZ plays at tempering her parental frustrations while helping her children handle some big emotions
- How To Herd Toddlers by Talking Pictorially — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama demonstrates how talking in pictures is a playful way to engage your young child in transitioning from one activity to the next.
- Getting a Toddler to Go Where You Want…Playfully — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how a game of hide-and-seek can be used to steer a wandering toddler in the direction of her choosing.
- Playful Parenting: Chores That Do Themselves — Remember chores when you were a kid? If chores were this fun for Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey, she wouldn’t have needed any reminders!
- Clown School Express: Playing away Fears — MudpieMama describes how she helped her boys confront their fears about starting kindergarten by playing with trains.
- Practicing Playful Parenting — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle realizes that playfulness is the best way through the day and seeks more ways to practice it.
- Today, Tomorrow and Every Day — Starr at Taking Time addresses her children in a letter sharing with them how improtant it is that they spend their childhood playing.
- Learning Through Immersion — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares how she helps her daughter develop naturally without focusing on teaching, but rather by immersing her in their family’s way of life and making her an active part of her environment.
- Play Here Now — Jessica at Instead of Institutions learns and relearns and tries to remember the value of play.
- Play: A Wonderful Parenting Tool — Mamapoekie from Authentic Parenting offers a list of examples on how to use play in real-life parenting situations.
- Playful Parenting — a Book Review — Erica at ChildOrganics shares simple yet sage advice from Dr. Cohen on how play can change your child’s life.
- Mock Threats: Turning Real Frustration into Playful Parenting — Threatening is not an effective discipline strategy, but Dionna at Code Name: Mama explains how parents can turn their frustration into playful moments by making “mock threats.”
- I’m Sick of Yelling — I Want to Play — Alicia at McCrenshaw’s Newest Thoughts realizes she needs to change the way she’s parenting and is forming a new plan.
- Sing-along, Brush-along Songs — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest shares a few songs to make brushing her three-year-old’s teeth more fun.
- Monster Voice — Ever have those frustrating moments with your kid(s) when you just want to scream? Amy at Anktangle shares a silly strategy for getting through those difficult times.