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Why parent need to play with kids -8 reasons show you why!!!
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Why parent need to play with kids -8 reasons show you why!!!

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Why parent need to play with kids -8 reasons show you why!!!


In the talk around getting kids active, all of us have probably heard people say, 

“Kids should just go outside and play.” Nice idea, but we know it doesn’t work, 

and Active for Life’s Richard Monette has discussed a few reasons why.


But there’s another version of this sentiment that especially bothers me. 

In the last couple of years, I’ve heard some people say, “Parents shouldn’t 

need to play with their kids.” I have heard this remark many times, and it’s

always delivered in a disparaging tone, as if playing with your kids is something 

bad and wrong.


Really?

As best I can tell, the authors of these remarks seem to imagine that playing 

with your kids represents mollycoddling. That’s nonsense.


If we’re talking about kids ages 3-10 years especially, there are good reasons 

why you should gleefully play with them. I’m going to give you 8.


1. Sometimes, no one else will


Quite simply, you might be living somewhere where your child has no one close 

in age to play with. What do you expect them to do? Play Frisbee by themselves? 

Chase the neighbour’s dog down the street? You’re not mollycoddling your child if 

you decide to get a ball and a couple of gloves to play catch. You’re not inhibiting 

their ability to make friends by playing a bit of one-on-one soccer or basketball or 

badminton. You’re making sure they get an active start in life despite awkward 

circumstances. And it’s very unlikely that you will have to be their sole playmate forever.


2. You provide an important active role model


When you play with your child, you demonstrate that play never goes out of style, 

and you show them that you value physical activity. You also get to model soft-skills 

such as sportsmanship and effort. You can be sure of one thing: your kids are watching you. 

And they will imitate you. Would you rather that they imitate Miley Cyrus? The Wolf of Wall 

Street? The Kardashians? Bart Simpson? (Actually, given those options, Bart Simpson might not be a bad choice.)


3. You develop their movement skills


For regular readers visiting Active for Life, you know what I’m talking about. For anyone

arriving here for the first time, I’m talking about the fundamental movement skills that 

kids need to start developing from an early age so they can become physically literate. 

Again, it’s not necessarily about becoming a superstar athlete. These are basic life skills 

that are every bit as important as learning to read and write.


4. You set them up for lifelong health


As you start your kids on the path to physical literacy and a love of physical activity, 

you set them up to become active for life. Consequently, they are more likely to enjoy 

greater lifelong physical, mental, and emotional health. As countless generations of 

grandparents have advised their offspring, you ain’t got nothing if you don’t got your health.


5. You nudge them in the direction of scholastic success


New research is constantly emerging about the positive correlation between physical 

activity and good school grades. What would you rather do? Spend 30 minutes laughing 

and playing with your child 4 days a week? Or battle through 30 minutes helping them 

with their homework every night because they are having attention issues at school due 

to being chronically inactive?


6. You bond with them


If you make it fun, you will forge deep bonds with your kids by playing with them. 

I played with all three of my kids as they were growing up — soccer, basketball, badminton, 

baseball, Frisbee, tennis, cycling and more — and I am grateful that I did. We’re like “this” now. 

[Crosses forearms and makes gangsta signs — to the mortification of his 16-year-old daughter, 

who winces, shields her eyes, and groans.] Each of them went on to form other friendships, each 

of them went on to do lots of different sports and physical activities, each of them became good 

students, and each of them has inherited happy memories of playing with dad. Which is good 

because my RRSPs don’t amount to much.


7. You discover the joy of play again


There can be much laughter and pleasure in movement and play. When was the last time you 

experienced it? You’re never too old to play, and there’s no shame in hanging out with children 

and acting like a kid yourself. As professor Peter Gray explains, you get to enjoy one of the 

greatest gifts of being alive. You also reduce your blood cortisol and increase your serotonin

 — without prescription drugs!  What a concept. [As I write these words, share prices for 

prescription antidepressants have taken a 5-point tumble.]


8. You follow in the footsteps of John Nash


John Nash, dad of two-time NBA most valuable player Steve Nash and talented siblings Martin

and Joann, played with all three kids when they were small. In our 2012 interview, he tells the

whole story and shares his views on being an active role model and a positive sport parent. 

Great story. If you have kids in sports, be sure to read it.


There are lots of great reasons to play with your kids. You can probably think of others as well. 

Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below, or visit us on Facebook and 

Twitter to share your ideas.


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