Playful CAN DOs

Playful CAN DOs

“Uppy! Uppy!” From the time they can talk, kids beg to be held.

Physical contact with the added element of play can continue to meet your child’s needs for experience, connection and power throughout childhood.  Contact is the perfect addition to almost any CAN DO you offer your child.

Here are two parent stories from Dr. Lawrence Cohen’s Playful Parenting newsletter, reprinted with permission, that demonstrate how to use play to break tension and reconnect.

Dr. Cohen writes:

Here’s a story of success with dreaded violin practice, from a playful Mom:


“I have enjoyed happy success most recently working playfully to get my son to practice his violin, which he just started learning. One day, when he was reluctant to pull away to do it, I pretended he was a rocket and I ‘launched’ him, beginning with a countdown and sound effects, then lifted him up and flew him to our bedroom (and practice room) and deposited him in front of his instrument.


Today required new creativity, but having noticed how eager he was to play for his grandparents over the weekend, I created an ‘audience’ for him with his stuffed animals, who begged him to play, applauded, and made special requests (the monkey demanded the Monkey Song of course). He had his longest practice yet, with big smiles and kept going even after I was willing to call it a day.”


Another Mom used some play to help her oldest child, age 6, who had been a bit of a “monster” lately:
“So, I recently pulled out one of our favorite games that has always helped my middle child. This time, I was hoping to turn around my 6 year old, and it worked like a charm.


I just lay down on the floor and say, ‘I’m the bread. Who wants to be the cheese?’ and one child will run over to lay on top of me. I give that kid a great big squeeze, which really seems to help him feel loved and snap him out of a bad mood. Then the other one will run over and be the mustard (or whatever) and lay on top. Now I’m squeezing two kids and the one in the middle is getting a good squeeze.


I have to help them take turns being the one closest to me. But the baby doesn’t care! She will just pile on top of her brothers and seems to feel like she’s ‘winning’ just because she’s playing too and gets to body slam her brothers.”

I highly recommend Dr. Cohen’s book, Playful Parenting, and one he co-wrote with Dr. DeBenedet, The Art of Roughhousing. They will give you a psychological understanding of what works with kids and help get your creative juices flowing to come up with playful CAN DOs of your own.


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