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Nine mistakes that parents make when we play with our children

The game is a basic pillar in childhood; essential for children to grow up happily, learn and develop in an integral way. We must promote play from the time our children are babies, and continue to do so for as long as possible, given its countless benefits.

In addition, when the child plays with their parents , the benefits multiply exponentially, even having a very positive impact on their mental health.

But so that playing with children only brings them advantages, we must avoid falling into certain erroneous practices such as these that we detail below.

Offer toys that are not according to their age and development

One of the main mistakes that we parents make when we play with our children is to offer them toys that do not take into account their age and/or level of development. Thus, it is common to put in their hands sophisticated toys for which it is required to master certain skills that the child has not yet acquired, thereby causing them frustration and disinterest.

Nor can we forget that the child’s brain gradually develops and matures, so in order to encourage their learning through play, it is important to respect their sensitive learning periods and adapt our game to them.

Ignore the child’s maturity and stages of play

But just as we must respect the psychomotor development of our children when we play with them, we must also take into account their psychological and social development, and not demand certain things from them for which they are not yet ready .

The game is an excellent way to teach children such important aspects as respect for others, cooperation, patience or knowing how to lose. However, and as happens with the concept of “sharing”, the child will learn all these lessons little by little , through our example and his maturity to understand things.

In this sense, we cannot claim that a young child who has not yet internalized social norms or sets of rules, nor completed his social development knows how to play with others, take turns, abide by the rules of a game or understand the importance of the colaboration.

Providing the child with too many toys

We often make the mistake of providing children with too many toys, thinking that in this way we will be arousing their curiosity even more, when what we achieve is the opposite effect: nullifying their creativity.

In addition, we tend to offer them toys that “do things for themselves” (talking dolls, stuffed puppies that walk on their own, cars that move with the push of a button…), depriving them of the opportunity to imagine and give their play the life or destiny they wish.

fall into gender stereotypes

Although we know the importance of educating children without gender roles or stereotypes, it is not easy to avoid falling into them when it comes to playing. And it is that the advertising and marketing messages of the toy industry can penetrate deeply into our subconscious.

That is why it is very important to remember that toys are not for a girl or a boy, and that freely chosen, they help to enhance creativity, empathy and acquire fundamental skills for life.

Direct their game and correct them

As adults, we seek to make sense of everything around us , and often we want to know the reason for things, when, or their purpose. When we play with our children we act in the same way, and many times, without realizing it, we end up directing their game , structuring it according to our rules or simply looking for a logical meaning to the activity.

But if there is something that characterizes children, it is their spontaneity, fantasy and creativity.

So, let them be the ones who freely choose how to play and what to do at all times, without trying to find any logic or meaning to their behavior.

Nor do we make the mistake of correcting them while they play , because with this we are not only killing their innate creativity, but also causing feelings of insecurity, inferiority and frustration.

Do not look at your world with “child’s eyes”

Very much in line with the above, adults must have an open mind when we play with our children and let ourselves be carried away by their fantasy and magical thinking.

Why won’t fairies exist, dogs won’t be able to talk, or cars won’t be able to swim? If that’s the story they’ve made up while they’re playing, let’s stick with it and step into their ‘baby-eyed’ game world .

Play with them without really being present

We cannot deny that the daily life of parents is complex : work, home, children, family tasks, mental load… All this makes us live with the autopilot on, swallowed by the rush and by the mobile screen, forgetting the importance of connecting with those around us .

Therefore, when playing with our children it is essential to be really present; that is, act with full awareness and avoid giving room in our minds to other thoughts , ideas or concerns that have nothing to do with the present moment we are living.

Always play indoors

In winter because it is cold and in summer because it is hot. Be that as it may, adults always find the perfect excuse to favor indoor games and activities, without realizing how little time our children spend outdoors.

Obviously, there will be times when playing outside the home is not possible, but in general, whenever we can, we should favor playing outdoors and in contact with nature , as it brings great benefits to the development of children .

Do not give rise to boredom

In general, we parents tend to feel guilty for not spending enough time with our children, which is why, when we have the chance, we make the mistake of overloading their day-to-day activities as if we were hotel entertainers, in an attempt to make up for the time lost.

In summer it is especially common for this to happen, because vacations and free time lead us to devise endless proposals and games for them , without allowing boredom.

But getting bored from time to time is not only necessary but also very beneficial for children, since boredom leads them to activate their imagination, to create and to learn.

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