How Playful Parents Build Positive Self-Image

Playful parenting is not only fun for both parent and child, but it’s also vital to helping children develop cognitive skills – dexterity, imaginations, communication skills, empathy, friendships and conflict resolution. Let’s Play and Learn Together by Roni Leiderman and Wendy Masi shows parents have to approach raising children in a playful, educational way that will nurture the physical and emotional needs of kids, while also strengthening the special bond between parents and children.

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According to the authors, “Playful parenting is an attitude and approach to raising children that makes life with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers easier, more delightful, and even more insightful. It is our hope that this book will help you enjoy and appreciate the value of play for learning and connecting with your child.”

A positive sense of self will also benefit your child well into adulthood. Here are some playful ways parents can help their children develop a positive self-image for a lifetime of emotional health.

Ways to Facilitate a Positive Self-Image

  • Respond lovingly and consistently to your child
  • Understand and respect your child’s unique personality and temperament
  • Model genuine care for others
  • Express love for your child through what you say and do
  • Demonstrate encouragement for your child’s efforts
  • Use positive discipline while understanding that discipline means teaching, not punishing

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All children are unique right from birth. They have their own genetic makeup and combined with their inborn temperament and your special way of interacting with them, develop a personality that begins to quickly emerge. Some children are easygoing and calm down quickly. Others are fussier and require swaddling and rocking to stop crying. Some babies nurse for long periods of time, content to be in their mothers’ arms. Other babies are less cuddly. When you respect your child’s unique way of dealing with the world, she comes to understand that she is important and valued. The care you generously give to your baby sets the stage, moment by moment, for the building of her self-identity and feelings of self worth. The emotional “piggy bank” that you invest in now with love and attention for your baby will yield valuable results for her in the years ahead and most likely into her adulthood.

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During baby’s first year, the parents’ task is to ensure that their child develops a sense of trust of the environment, his caretakers, and himself. That is why it is so vitally important to respond consistently and lovingly to babies’ cries and needs. You cannot spoil a young baby by holding, cuddling, rocking, and nurturing too much. Babies whose needs are attended to by consistent loving adults will actually cry less often and be calmed more quickly than babies who are left on their own to “cry it out.” By responding to your baby’s needs, you are teaching her that she is important, that she has an effect on the people in her world, and that she is valuable and worthy of the love and devotion of the most important people in her world: her parents. There may come a period when your toddler finds it upsetting to be without you. Because you are so vitally important to him and responsible for making him feel happy and secure, separation anxiety occurs when you leave, even for short periods of time. Because all children have their own unique temperament, some children may be happy to wave bye-bye when Mommy goes to work. Other children may suddenly feel frightened and upset when Daddy merely leaves the room for a few moments. Respect your child’s personality and guide him gently with reassurance and consistency until he is able to move past this challenging time.

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play-and-learn-togetherPlaying with your baby is more than fun and games: it’s the key to building a strong relationship with your infant and providing important early stimulation that promotes learning and development. Let’s Play and Learn Together provides 100 games, activities, and exercises that parents can do with their baby to foster cognitive, motor, and language skills as well as creativity and relational skills. Let’s Play and Learn Together shows parents how they can use daily caregiving routines such as feeding, diapering, dressing, bathing, and bedtime as opportunities for play, positive emotional attachment, and learning. You’ll also find play ideas for each age and stage and for different developmental levels.