Caregivers and children can enjoy their time together by being mindful of their interaction. Here are some recommendations for caregivers to learn with children through play:
Be intentional. Schedule family time daily, this could be individual with each child or together as a family. If you have more than one child, they may want your attention at the same time, this is an opportunity to practice prosocial skills, turn taking or sharing. Refer to the COVID-19 Parenting: One-on-One Time Tip Sheet for more details.
Get comfortable. Find a comfortable space and get down to the child’s level. Make sure the toys and activities you are using are developmentally appropriate, fun and educational.
Let the child lead! You do not always have to come up a plan. Observe your child in natural play, join their activity, relax and drop expectations, and enjoy him/her—let them teach you!
Be patient. Do not try to take charge, your job is to show interest, praise behaviors you would like to see more of, and provide encouragement.
Stay Curious. Ask open ended questions as you play like "What do you think will happen if...?", "Can you think of another way to...?", "What else can you build with that...?", "Where else could that go...?"...
You must have fun! If you and your child are no longer enjoying the activity, stop it. Play should be enjoyable for everyone. Remember it does not need to be a long time for it to be beneficial. It could be as little as 5 minutes of uninterrupted time.
For complete access to all of our child activity resources refer to our COVID-19 Child Activities Toolkit.