It’s okay to admit you don’t like playing with your child. Playing, especially in the infant years, can be tough. Focusing on doing it right to hit every milestone can take away the joy of actually playing with your child. Get on their level and try not to overthink it!
There isn’t one way to bond with your child
We tend to struggle with playtime and set such high expectations for ourselves. All while making sure our children’s development is fostered and not feeling overwhelmed to play with them all day. Figuring out a schedule and balance of independent/interactive play that works for them AND for you will make the most of their playtime and keep everyone engaged.
Rotate toys when you can
A decluttered play space is life changing. Here’s how to do a toy rotation. It results in less clutter and fewer options for your child. Fewer toys out at any given time can allow for less distraction, more interest in play and more creativity with play.
Children know when you’re not into playtime
Kids can pick up when we’re mentally not available for them. Teaching them independent play is going to be the biggest stress reliever. They learn so much from their own self-driven curiosity and you will get a breather to do something in the same room while they are playing. Children will surprise you if you let them. So focus on increasing some independent playtime (where you are nearby for supervision) from the time you start playing. Encouraging independent play from a young age can give you a healthy balance. When it is time for you to play, try to put your phone aside and turn off the TV to create meaningful play moments – even if it’s for ten minutes.
Let them get frustrated during playtime
Your child can learn more when you are not in their face every waking moment. From infancy, when they’re frustrated during play, pause and give them a moment to figure it out on their own. Verbalize their frustration and allow them to be bored before jumping in and helping. Give them a chance to be frustrated and bored! Boredom and frustration can lead to curiosity and wonder.
It’s ok if you don’t like certain toys
Pick something you like so you are more excited and engaged. This energy will radiate to your child. Everyone plays differently – including you.
My course, THE NEW MOM’S SURVIVAL GUIDE goes over infant development, basics of play, play ideas to foster the “big-picture” development of your baby, and you also get access to masterclasses.
P.S. – Check out Ep 101 of The PedsDocTalk Podcast on How to Overcome Playtime Guilt!