Child-focused playtime fosters trust and attachment.
While you might also notice increased cooperation after adding this special bonding time to your day, the most important goal is to nurture your deep parent-child connection.
Child-focused playtime is reflecting and supporting your child’s activities and interests without sharing your feelings and opinions about them. You might find this quite challenging at first, but removing expectations from your interactions with your child fosters self-confidence and reinforces their inherent value.
While the suggested time limit and schedule provide a reassuring framework, it’s also important to allow for flexibility as you find what works for your family.
Try the following steps to get started:
- Agree on a repeating schedule, like every Monday after dinner.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes.
- Begin with a hug and a thank you.
- Let your child know that this is their time to spend as they wish.
- Participate as your child directs and reflect each interaction back to them without sharing opinions or judgments (even praise!).
- When the timer goes off, end with another hug and thank you.
- Reassure your child that you will do it again at the agreed upon time.
If your child finds it difficult to transition out of your special time together, this is okay! In fact, tears and frustration may be a much-needed outlet. Just accept and soothe their disappointment, and continue reflecting what you see without trying to solve or redirect. Over time, their trust and confidence will grow and this transition will become easier.
This is an intense bonding activity that can be used as a quick reset when the parent-child connection feels fractured, or it can be used as a regular maintenance of the trust and bond you share as a family.
Call the Family Help Line coaches to guide you in starting child-focused playtime. 800-932-4673 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
© Parent Trust for Washington Children