I think one of the dark secrets of parenting is that we really LIKE our kids to play with play stations, video games, and iphones.
The kids keep themselves busy, have fun, don't bother us, and it doesn't make a mess.
I talked about the first issue - that kids want our attention when they play - in my first post. This post focuses on the second problem: CHAOS.
The very best parenting - usually referred to as 'authoritative' - balances the child's need to express themselves and bend the world to their needs with the need for the child to accommodate their behavior to work and play well with others.
When thinking about creative play, that means letting them play - cut up origami paper, run cars across the floor, go through the closets and turn pots and pans into an orchestra. But it also means that they need to do it in a way that lets other people use the house.
If you're stressed because the house is a mess, that's not good for anyone.
How to reach that balance?
Don't isolate play.
The way many people - especially those with the luxury of large homes - deal with this problem is through isolation. The 'family room' or 'playroom' is where the kids can make messes that the parents can ignore. Yes, it's knee deep in there, but it's not my problem. I just close the door.
This is a mistake for several reasons:
Keep the mess out of the way.
If they're playing in the whole family's space, that means you all have to live together (it's called a LIVING room for a reason, right?). It doesn't mean they need to dump their blocks in the middle of the floor.
Make cleanup easy.
Good nursery schools are full of toys and kids. They are also pretty neat. Why? They're good at cleanup.
All the toys don't have to be out all the time.
There is something to be said for the idea that less is more. Cycle through their toys. Have four or five toys easily accessible and the rest out of sight. They'll develop a deeper appreciation of and play BETTER with a few toys than they will if they dabble in this, that and the other. When they seem bored with one, put it away and bring out another. If they want something put away, they'll be able to find it. You'll see more play and buy fewer things. And fewer toys are always easier to clean up than more of them
Play is one of the most important things that kids do. The easier you make it for both you and them, the happier you'll both be.
© 2011 Nancy Darling. All Rights Reserved Related posts
© 2011 Nancy Darling. All Rights Reserved