Are We Having Fun Yet?

Rebecca White  |  3/15/2006 4:35:34 AM

Spending time with your child in unhurried, unstructured play is refreshing and necessary for both parent and child.

News You Can Use For March 2006

It is easy for parents to get so busy they neglect to carve out some "fun time" with their kids. Building a little family time into daily life isn’t easy, but it can be done if parents allow themselves the freedom to relax with their kids, according to LSU AgCenter family development professor Dr. Rebecca White.

Spending time with your child in unhurried, unstructured play is refreshing and necessary for both parent and child. Time together doesn’t always have to be about learning or being entertained. Your attitude can show your child that just having fun with one another is a reason enough to share time.

"When given the chance, kids are great at selecting the forms of play they enjoy most," White says, adding, "Play along with them and resist the urge to set rules or rush them through an activity they are enjoying."

Make suggestions or introduce a variation of play only after you have stepped back to observe for a moment. For example, if scribbling is the art form your child chooses today, why not grab one of those fat crayons and draw along? Or if your child is content playing in the sandbox making a castle with a single paper cup, simply take the cue and follow suit.

Make conversation during free play times only when it feels comfortable to do so. Praising the child’s effort rather than the outcome is the best approach. Try, "I see you chose your favorite colors for this picture," or "You must have had fun doing that!" Children will feel proud of even the smallest accomplishments when recognized this way.

By making "fun time" with your children, you will assure them how important they are to you and how their childhood is a special time.

For related family topics, click on the Family and Home link on the LSU AgCenter homepage, at www.lsuagcenter.com.  For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com

Source: Rebecca White (225) 578-6701, or bwhite@agcenter.lsu.edu

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