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boy playing in the snow

Play Hour

Drop in on my neighbour Sandy and you would find her playing shops on the living room table - the contents of her pantry spread out and fussily managed by her little daughters.  Completely unembarrassed at the mess, enjoying the game, or rather, enjoying her children.


I suggest a playhour every morning with your pre school child.


After the morning rush and before the work of

the day, slot in a playhour and keep it

predictable and regular - expected everyday.

You may find that when she knows she will have

playtime with you, your undivided attention,

she will be more willing to play happily while you

do tasks later.  "We'll play together, then I have

to do some work, but we have a whole hour first! 

And we'll do playhour again tomorrow!"


What does he want to do?  Let the child direct

the fun.  I played "Baby Wild Dogs" (?!) every

day for months.  I didn't ever see the attraction,

but I saw his excitement.  Games are just so fun

if mum plays too.


It's because you love him and he loves you.  That

puts a shine on every game.


Try to live in the moment like baby does.  A child

enjoys playing so much more because they can

do this, while we often are in the habit of

thinking about what we have to do next.

Look at it as a service to your child.  One of the

most important things we are to do on the earth

is serve others.  Alot of the things you normally think of as service are mildly unpleasant - doing someone's ironing, taking food to a sick person.  But playing with your child is a service to them that you can enjoy equally.  "The most important work you will ever do is within the walls of your own home"


I loved the ideas and structure of the Joyschool program.  Both to run with other mothers and to play just the two of you, introducing your child to the beautiful, happy things of the world.


Some games for very young babies:


Baby Boo - throw a sheet over baby, can she wiggle out from under it herself?  "Where's the baby? Where is she?  There she is!"


As soon as he can crawl have stair lessons - a useful skill, but mainly so much fun.  Sit beside him on each stair and see how much he can do by himself.

Give a baby a box of tissues and let her pull them out one by one.  Endlessly intriguing how it works.  She'll pull out the whole box, then play with the box.  A good time to practise that attention span idea.

As soon as he can toddle play "Baby COME!"   Set him on one side of the room and let him come to you with great cheering. It is fun for  daddy or brother or sister to be on the other side and send him back and forth. Then add "Baby STOP"  It will take a few times to get the idea.  They love this simple game and it is very useful for obedience later on.


"Instructions"  You will be  surprised at how smart your child is.  Start with one instruction to a baby too young to talk.  "Bring me a shoe",  Increase the instructions to two, "Bring me a shoe then climb on a chair." then three and more.  This is fun with older children too and you can have them test how well they can listen, increasing the complexity of the instructions.


And the usual childhood games like:

"Mother, may I?"  "You may take three giant steps" "Mother, may I?"  "You may take two jumps."  Take turns being "Mother" 

"Crocodile, crocodile, may I cross your golden river?"  "Only if you have the colour blue"  If they don't have something blue on, you chase them to the other side of the river, trying to catch them.

A side effect of playhour is that attention seeking behaviour is reduced because - they ARE getting attention! 

I was interested to see the playhour idea evolved naturally, as they started school, to afternoon adventures and later, to just keeping myself unbusy enough to be approached when needed, for chatting, comfort, or ideas. 

You'll pay for a class quite happily, but the best class and the best teacher and the best playmate can be you!!  And you are free! 


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