"Will You Play with Me?" A Way to Connect with Your Little One

The attachment between parent and child works as a safe base for the child to explore the world. Although Attachment Theory reveals that attachment occurs within the first 3 years of a child’s life, some recent studies show that attachment can develop and become stronger in subsequent years. Secure Attachment supports children’s self-confidence and resilience. Secure Attachment can be achieved when the parent/caregiver recognizes the emotional needs of the child and meet these emotional needs. PLAY is very crucial for creating a strong bond between the child and the parents/carers.

Play is a tool for the child to rehearse life, cope with intense emotions, and build relationships. With all the juggle of housework, homeschooling and their actual works parents/carers may feel reluctant to play with their children due to stress and tiredness. Of course, children need to spend some alone time and play by themselves but playing with their parents and with their friends is also crucial. There should be a fine balance. The playtime with parents will support the social-emotional development of the child and improve their life skills.

Attachment Play between the children and their parents will reduce children’s daily stress, strengthen their connection with their parents and support problem-solving skills.

Features of Attachment Play:

– They are Interactive Games: So active participation of all players is important.

– There is a lot of laughter and smiles while playing. The important thing here is that the parents should be aware of the difference between laughing with the child and laughing at the child. In these games, there is no laughing at the child, there is laughing with the child and enjoying the moment.

– It doesn’t matter who starts the game. These games don’t have to be structured, pre-planned. Sometimes the child can initiate attachment games, and sometimes the parent.

– It does not require any toys. It only requires parents and children who are present in that moment. It is especially important that the television is not switched on at these moments, that the parents do not look at their phones or do other things.

– It can be played anywhere and anytime. You can play these games in the bathroom, in the car, on the road, by the pool, etc. In short, you can play them everywhere.

– Attachment Play does not require disciplinary methods, they are not played to teach the child the rules.

– These games do not contain competition. Playing games, such as competitive board games, is also important in terms of contribution to the development of the child, but games we call Attachment Play do not contain competition. It is essential that everyone enjoy the games.

– It does not have a specific duration, sometimes it can only take 2 minutes.

– These games increase positive energy.

– Touching and hugging are among children’s physical needs. Especially when they experience strong emotions, they feel the energy brought by these emotions in their bodies more intensely than adults, so games involving touching and hugging is an important first step for children to cope with their strong emotions.

– Physical games (such as running, hopping, jumping) reduce the stress level of the child as they help to secrete certain hormones more.

– The fact that the child laughs in these games is a factor that shows that we are on the right track. Sitting on the ground with your child, laughing together, and hugging them, naming their feelings will naturally develop your bond of trust with your little one.

A Few Game Suggestions:

– On a day when your child is moody with some burst outs; Say, “Okay, I understand the hugs in your bank have decreased” and hug your child. Give a hug to your child for as long as possible. Later, when your child asks you to stop hugging, say, “I love hugging you so much… promise me we’ll hug each other again”, and gradually separate.

– Every child could have a hard time when they have a new sibling. We know that the basis of sibling rivalry is the decline of the time spent with the child. You could run after him and say “I will catch you, hug you tight and kiss you”. Or you can pretend to argue with your partner about who will hug your child first such as “Oh but you always play with him”, “But you can spend time with him the most, it is my turn now! No, I cannot wait to hug”

– Another game is “Love Sandwich”. You can make a “….. (Your child’s name) Sandwich” by hugging the child on both sides. “

– If your child is upset that day; you can play the Yes-No game. “I guess you always feel like saying no today, let’s play a game about that. I will say YES to you, and you will say NO in the same tone as me, okay? “And say YES using different tones. Let him use NO as much as he wishes.

Sending warm wishes to all,
Out of the Box Fun Team

References:
– Solter, AJ (2013). Attachment Play: How to solve children’s behavior problems with play, laughter, and connection. California: Shining Star Press.
– Markham, L. Playing with Your Child: Games for Connection and Emotional Intelligence. Downloaded from the website www.ahaparenting.com 

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