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Playing is a driver of the parent-child bond

Maude Goyer

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“Come play with me!” If you are the parent of a young child, this sounds quite familiar to you. Sometimes we give our little ones positive answers; some other times, we refuse for all sorts of reasons like fatigue, stress, household chores, or… lack of interest.

All the experts say it: playing with our children is essential. “Everything, from changing the diaper to learning a new word, is much easier through games”, says Julie Philippon, blogger and mother of Camille, 8, and Félix, 6. Catherine Goldschmidt, a mother of three, adds: “Playing is a daily break. It allows children to take some kind of control. The roles are reversed.”

According to Gilles Cantin, a professor at the Faculty of Education at Université du Québec à Montréal, playing strengthens the bond between an adult and a child. It is a communication driver. “It is an open door for sharing”, he says. “Playing allows building a relationship and learning to know each other.” Parents demonstrate to children that they hold an important place by giving them time and attention. Children gradually gain self-confidence and develop bonds with their father and/or mother.

Some parents feel more comfortable than others when it comes to playing. Francine Ferland, an occupational therapist and the author of several books on child development, believes it is imperative to let the children lead the game. “They must decide themselves what games to play, with what rules, and for how long”, she underlines.

Here are a few examples of free games:
– 1 year old and under: play Peek-A-Boo, look at a picture book
– 2 years old: hide objects under a box and let the child discover what they are
– 3 years old: dress up, create different worlds (hair salon, fire station, etc.)
– 4 years old : make up a story and let the child finish it, and vice-versa
– 5 years old: provide some craft material and make something with the child

No need to spend a whole afternoon on games; playing for fifteen minutes a day is sufficient. “Children need their parents to look at them”, Ms. Ferland says. “ It is the basis of all of their affective development.”

Play and learn with Danino ! Visit danino.ca to download and print games.

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