Five Reasons Why We Should Play with Our Kids

October 01, 2017

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Does this sound familiar to you?

You just got off your shift. You pull into the school parking lot. Hustle the kids in and head for home. Once there, you hustle them into the house and tell them to do their homework while you make dinner. After dinner, you collapse on the couch exhausted while the kids stare at the TV or their video games.

Meanwhile, our lives are more stressed than ever, adults and kids are suffering from high rates of obesity, and no one’s happy.

shutterstock_320835287So what can we do? RN & Allied Specialties has a suggestion: Make time to play with your kids. Here are five reasons why you should:

1) It’s time to get out of the rut.
When you play with your child, you demonstrate that play never goes out of style, and you show them that you value physical activity. You also get to model soft-skills such as sportsmanship and effort. You can be sure of one thing: your kids are watching you. And they will imitate you.

2) You set them up for a lifetime of health.
Long hours at school followed by homework and TV or screen time is making our kids sluggish and fat. We’re nurses so it’s up to us to set them up for a lifetime of health. Spending time together on physical activities delivers immediate benefits to our kids and ourselves. Equally important, it gives them a love for physical activities and sports. This is the foundation of a lifetime of health.

3) You create a closer relationship.
When you spend one-on-one time with your child, you’re not just hanging out, you’re making lifelong shutterstock_340181912memories and forging a closer relationship. Too often parents tell their kids to go play by themselves. Not a good message! Even when we’re busy, making time for our kids makes us closer. I played with my kids as they were growing up — soccer, basketball, badminton, Frisbee, paintball, cycling and more — and I am grateful that I did. We’re like “this” now.

4) Getting them to do homework will be easier.
Research is shows a positive correlation between physical activity and good grades. So here’s the new plan. When you get home from work/school, spend 30 minutes playing with your child, preferably outside. Try a game of tag or hide and seek. Play some kick ball or Simon Says. A half hour of fun will  make it much easier for your kids to sit down and do homework later. It will also make them fall asleep faster giving you some important “you” time.

5) Play time is good for you, too.
My kids and I made up a game we call “Balloon Volleyball.” We blew up several balloons, threw them in the air and then hit them back and forth in the air until they popped or fell to the ground. At the end of our first game, I was out of breath and laughing like crazy. Ever since the first baloon volleyball game, it’s been a favorite in our house. Don’t worry about looking or acting silly with your kids! You’re never too old to play, and there’s no shame in hanging out with children and acting like a kid yourself. Laughing with your child is so much better than nagging!

Play is good for every child. Granted, getting a teen to play is a challenge. Try redefining play. It could be you take a walk one night a week. You take a class at the local Y together. Or, you sit down with your teen and play one of their video games. Just have some fun! Life will be better for everyone!