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Can Playing Games with Your Toddler Change Your Life?

by Patty Pearcy

be you, bravely

February 12, 2014

Can Playing Games with Your Toddler Change Your Life?

You bet it can!

Moms, we know that carving out time each day to sit down and play a game with your little one might be something on your aspirational list, but not on your must-do list. But here’s the thing, devoting time to play with your toddler has benefits for YOUR life too. This changes the game, doesn’t it? 

It is a given that young children struggle with learning patience, sharing, taking turns and following rules. Every mother has faced these challenges in teaching her young one – it’s part of growing up. What surprises me though is now many times moms avoid the thing that will help the most! Concerned because their children lack the skills listed above, game play is often avoided rather than embraced.  I’m here to tell you that game play is your friend and can have long-term positive impacts in sharing key behavioral lessons with our youngsters.

First thing first, it is important to understand that when you begin playing games, your child will not have ‘your’ skills and etiquette in play.  They are just learning those skills, after all.  Patience on your side is required! Here are a few tips for getting started:

  1. Pick age appropriate, simple games to start (we are focused on behavior not content, so keep the advanced abc’s and 123’s for another day)
  2. Let your toddler pick which game to play (you control the list of games available so give just two options each day)
  3. Keep game play time short – 10 minutes or so
  4. Do it consistently – 4-5 days a week
  5. Set a time that works for you, like right before or after breakfast
  6. Know the skills you want to work on:  turn taking, sharing, communication, following rule steps
  7. Be patient, work on only one skill at a time.
  8. Make it fun! (That means find a game you like to play too!)

After a couple of weeks, take stock of where you are in your child’s skill development. My guess is that you will see a noticeable difference in your toddler’s capability.

So how can all this change your life? Take a moment to think about all the times during the day you need your toddler to be patient, to wait their turn, to communicate clearly, to share something or to follow a set of specific steps.  Ask yourself how much easier ‘mom-life’ might be if your toddler had these skills down?

Play is a simple solution at your finger-tips to help your toddler learn key lessons in behavior that contribute to higher quality family life. All it takes is a little bit of your time each day to make it happen.  So move that game play time from your ‘nice to have’ list to ‘must do’. The gift of play was given to us for a reason to help us learn and grow, with a little laughter thrown in too!


Patty Pearcy is a creative, imaginative leader with a young-at-heart attitude and an entrepreneurial spirit. As president and CEO of SimplyFun LLC, she combines her passion for education and business in support of SimplyFun’s mission to build smarter kids and stronger families through the amazing power of play. In her free time she enjoys traveling, golf, gardening and cooking for friends.

Patty Pearcy is a creative, imaginative leader with a young-at-heart attitude and an entrepreneurial spirit. As president and CEO of SimplyFun LLC, she combines her passion for education and business in support of SimplyFun’s mission to build smarter kids and stronger families through the amazing power of play. In her free time she enjoys traveling, golf, gardening and cooking for friends.

 

 

Let’s share some game ideas. What games go over best at your house? And how old are your kids?

Related topics: Fun, Advice

Share your thoughts

My kids are 6, 11, 14. My kids love games, but its hard to find something my 6 yr old can play that will also keep my 14 yr old interested. Uno and Yahtzee are favorites for all of us. My older kids and I will play Apples to Apples after the youngest goes to bed. My 6 yr old especially loves card games like Old Maid and Go Fish :)

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