6 Mistakes Parents Make After Christmas

For most kids, Christmas means lots of new toys. As parents, we find it very frustrating when we see these brand new toys just lying there. And to top it all off – the kids are whining and complaining that they’re bored!

Here are 6 common mistakes that parents make about play:

1. Tell them to “go and play”. Instead, start playing with a toy yourself and ask them to join you. Or let them play ‘beside’ you. They will absorb what you are doing, while also playing on their own.

2. Narrating your child’s play. Your kids don’t want to hear a play by play of what they are doing. Participate in their play with them.

3. Bombarding them questions. This makes the child feel uneasy – it’s like you’re testing them. Just have fun!

4. Doing the same thing. Give them something unexpected. Give them new ideas/inspiration when they seem ‘stuck in a rut’. You are giving them a repertoire of options that they can use with this toy (and others) when they are not playing with you.

5. Forcing them to play. Give them some time. Some kids need time ‘around’ a toy, before interacting with it and playing with it. If this is the case with your child, then keep the toy in a spot where the child can see it. Every once in a while, play with the toy yourself. Wait until they come to you. Just because they didn’t choose to play with it right away doesn’t mean they don’t like it!

6. Limiting yourself to one toy. Try introducing other toys. Depending on the toy, introduce other toys into play. Show how they can be used together. But don’t push it if the child doesn’t want to include other toys.

One thing that we forget. is as parents we need to model play for our kids.

I would like to suggest this: pick a toy and spend some time with your child showing them (teaching them) how to play with their new toy.  We need to show them the possibilities their toy holds. Demonstrate. Engage them. Then when they feel confident, they will return to that toy later and mimic the play they experienced with you. After they have mimicked you, then they will begin to explore other possibilities for play with their toy.


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