You've heard it all before--kids learn best through play. Several studies have proven that play is the key to unlocking a child's genius. It fosters creativity, resilience, openness to new ideas, and many more!
However, we parents get caught up in being an adult or a parent more often than we'd like to admit. Based on a detailed illustration entitled "Sit Back, Relax, and Let Your Kids Play Their Way to Greatness" on Wired.com, the simple reminders below can help bring you back to your senses--and maybe approach parenting in a relaxed and chill state. Because, really, you don't need to stress too much about your kids. Just let them play!
1. Let their hands build and create. Store-bought toys are nice, but when your kids "create" their own toys, it helps their imagination and they become creators and makers. Let them try their hand at "building" Philippine landmarks (check it out here) or encourage them to build their own robots (like this).
2. Encourage role-playing. In having the opportunity to see things in a different perspectives even through play, it will help your child develop empathy, an essential life skill. Yes, bahay-bayahan still works, and a house built from balikbayan boxes is very acceptable.
3. Give them their me-time Moms know how much we value our me-time, right? And kids need it, too. It's the first step to helping them be more independent and self-sufficient. If they want to play on their own, please let them (this means you can catch up on precious sleep!).
4. Allow them to express themselves. When your child discovers that he can do things independent of you, give him the freedom to express himself by letting him experiment and innovate. And when he makes a mess...
5. Ease up on him about the mess. An organized home is unlikely with kids around--and that's okay. It's an inevitable by-product of play. To them, it's not a mess but a project. (They'll soon get around to tidying up.)
6. Let them discover new things. We often try to answer our kids' curious questions. Sometimes it's better to help them find answers and let them experience the joy in discovering.
7. Free up their hands to explore. To study the world they live in, they need to use all their senses including the sense of touch. It helps them develop perceptiveness.
8. Teach rules and follow through. Games have rules so you can teach your kids about responsibility. It's a good practice for social interactions they'd have in the future.
9. Don't be spooked by imaginary friends Imaginary friends are how kids figure out themselves sometimes, like how their drawings say a lot about how they think. Often, it's not about loneliness that they create them. 10. Expand their set of friends. Younger ones can learn a lot from their ates and kuyas. Toddlers are sponges, but older kids learn a lot from the young ones, too. Kids can learn how to lead others and be a follower.
11. It is okay to be repetitive. Kids want to do things over and over again when they're having fun, or until they get think they get it right. Think of it as practice for practicing. 12. Challenge your kids. Comfort is something we all enjoy, but it's also important to teach kids to take risks. Testing their physical limits is one way to boost their confidence.
13. Let them resolve spats on their own. Rough play and playtime squabbles hones your child’s social skills. If you step back and let the kids figure things out, they are able to learn the concept of fairness and selflessness.
When you've got the fun part covered, learning follows automatically. So every time you want to teach your kids a value or a skill, go back to the basics--use playing to your advantage, as a tool to connecting with your child instead of seeing it as a hindrance to their growing up.