Why playing with your child is more important than you think

Play time prepares them for growing up, and you need to be a part of it

Isabel Salvosa

5:4:30am May 4, 2018

7:5:54am June 21, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Our accomplishments as parents are defined by important milestones: from their first steps, to the ones they take as they enter preschool.

But we forget to take the days in between into account. Sometimes it’s the forgotten moments that solidify our relationship with our child.

The early moments of feeding, bonding, and play time are the foundation of parent-child relationships, and they bear as much weight as the milestones we deem most important. A simple "Laro tayo" is the beginning to creating a deeper rapport.

However, it’s hard for busy parents.

CJ, a mom working full-time, believes play time makes her 4-year-old daughter feel safe and involved. She plays with her before they go to sleep, on weekends, and whenever she works from home. But she doesn’t always have the time.

According to a survey by Rappler in partnership with Johnson's, 43% of parents don’t play with their children.

And for those who do, it’s the child who always initiates play 28% of the time.

Play time helps with more than just creating a bond

28% of them play with their kids to develop a deeper bond.

But there are other reasons why your child needs play time with you.

Play time is instrumental to the release of the hormone oxytocin. According to a study on Oxytocin and the Development of Parenting in Humans, parent-child bonding time leads to the release of oxytocins, particularly as the child gets older. Oxytocin can help them form good relationships with others in the future.

CJ and her daughter usually stay indoors, where they play house, watch YouTube videos, and create arts and crafts. They only get to play outdoors during weekends, though CJ wishes they could do so more often.

Her daughter also gets to play with gadgets during allotted times, a practice true for most kids nowadays. The survey shows they prefer playing indoors with their gadgets, consuming video content.

However, parents still believe there’s a need for children to explore the outdoors. 

Schedule play time outdoors when you can. Active play builds physical and cognitive development, gearing them for bigger roles and responsibilities as they begin to grow up. Inventing games also fosters creativity, and role playing flexes imaginations.

Aside from developing strength and dexterity, active play can teach a child proper communication skills. Seeing how their parents act can also help them become confident leaders.

You’re a role model for an adult-in- training. You're equipping them with the skills they need.

Nevertheless, it’s important to let them learn on their own, so they can discover more about the world and develop resiliency and independence.

But do I have enough time?

If you have young kids, you might think you still have time left. But don’t be so busy being an adult that you forget how important childhood is.

In this modern age, moms and dads work, but even so, they’re both doing their best to find time to play with their kids.

Shared parenting is the norm — it’s not just the mom who’s involved. Dads are now taking a more active role in parenting. Usual play time schedules are at night after work, or during the weekends.

However, moms generally feel they’re not doing enough.

CJ shares, “There was a time that I thought we didn't have enough play time. But I have to let go of that guilt, and realize that what's more important is she has play time in a safe and open space.”

She adds that a parent’s attitude is equally important. “Play with them because you want to, not because you have to. If you play with them out of obligation, they can sense you're thinking of something else.”

Spend what little time you have with your child by getting to know them. Learn what they like playing, who their best friend is, or the name of their favorite toy.

Activities can be as simple as building a fort or reenacting story books. But you have to make each moment count by being fully present.

In the end, it’s not all about how much time you can spare. It's how you make use of the time you have with them that’s important. — Rappler.com

Johnson's advocates joint play for the benefits for children’s development. Replace one hour of online play with active play per week. Ensure longer and happier play time through freshness and fragrance with Johnson’s Active Kids powder, shampoo, bath, and cologne products! #LaroTayo