Grown ups can play too

Benefits of Play  |  4 years ago

Grown ups can play too

“We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”~ George Bernard Shaw

Next time your kids run out to play on their playset, consider joining them, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Children love when their parents play with them, and, in theory at least, we parents love playing with our children, but the truth is, our days are short and our to do lists are long. It’s often easiest to encourage your kids to play by themselves or with their friends.

There are major benefits, however, to playing with your children, for both parent and child, so sometimes it really is worth it to take time for play. 

Benefits for kids:

Play is great for kids. Vital even. It helps their physical, social, and cognitive development. It’s great for kids to learn to play on their own and to play with their peers, but playing with a parent has its own benefits. Play with a parent is particularly good for children’s social and emotional development because parents can help model positive social interactions. Showing them how to wait their turn, for instance. 

Benefits for parents:

We know play is good for kids, and we know kids love to play with their parents. The thing is play is really good for parents, too. You know how everyone is always talking about “being present” or “living in the moment”? Turns out being “in the moment” has real benefits. Researchers have found that people who live in the now are happier, more optimistic, less depressed, and more satisfied with life overall. Play is all about being present and letting go of your worries for as long as it lasts. 

Taking time to play can be really refreshing, but a lot of us find it challenging to do. If it’s hard for you, that’s okay. Just try it for 20 minutes to start. You don’t have to take the whole afternoon. Play outside to avoid distractions. It’s easier to play if you aren’t looking at your computer thinking about emails you need to return, or noticing that your floor needs to be vacuumed. Leave your phone inside with all the rest of the distractions while you’re at it(you can do it. It’s only 20 minutes, right?), and just go play.

Another benefit for parents? Exercise. It’s not just your kids who are getting exercise running around or climbing up and down the playset. There’s nothing wrong with getting a little workout in as a side benefit, and anything is better than spending the day sitting at a desk.

An outdoor playset is a great vehicle for playing with your kids. Of course, we recommend CedarWorks playsets because they don’t have weight limits, so they can hold as many adults and children as can fit on the set. So go ahead, swing as high as you can, climb the rope ladder, test yourself on the monkey bars. Or you can use the playset as home base for hide and seek or a great place to take a break from a game of tag.

Next time you tell your kids to go play outside, join them! You’ll all benefit from a play break.