Parents Admit To “Forgetting” How To Play With Children

A new report by Professor Tanya Byron suggests that parents have forgotten how to play with their children. Additionally, a third of parents interviewed for the study who do actively attempt to take part in family activities find them boring, with one in ten parents considering family play-times a waste of time.

Out of the 2000 parents interviewed for the study, 21% admitted to finding it a struggle to engage their children in creative or imaginative activities.

Byron suggests that there are four key components in formulating a successful playtime between parents and children. These consist of education, communication, integration and inspiration. She suggests parents consider their memories of structured playtime experienced during childhood, and incorporate such elements when playing with their children.

Byron’s report also suggests that one of the main problems between parent and child is a lack of communication about the type of activity they should play together. One in three parents, she reports, spends time playing computer games with their children; believing that this type of activity will be most enjoyable. However, nine out of ten children surveyed say that they would rather play computer games alone. Additionally three quarters of the children stated  they would rather spend time participating in more “traditional pursuits” with their parents, such as playing board games or playing outside.

Parents cited a number of reasons for their problems in playtime participation. Over half of those interviewed stated time pressures due to work or home based chores detracted from the amount of time they felt available to play with their children. Almost one third of the children noted that they were aware of their parents work worries and believed that was key to why their parents were not available to play. Byron says parents should adjust their time management to prioritize playtime with their families for the sake of their children’s development.

Another cause for concern was sibling rivalry and interactive disputes between children. Almost a third of parents interviewed stated this was the biggest problem when attempting to participate in family activities.

Byron reminds parents that the role of play is vital for a child’s development. Family based playtime helps a child to develop key concepts of socialization, communication and interactions.

Author: Victoria Powell
Source: Amelia Hill – Guardian Online

Parents Forgetting How To Play With Children

Research suggests parents are forgetting how to participate in play with children. Image: timmurtaugh, Flickr

4 Responses to Parents Admit To “Forgetting” How To Play With Children

  1. Rudy August 27, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    What an interesting and important article.

    I agree that it can be hard to get into an active playtime with our children. I thought that times had changed so much that kids weren’t interested in our “old time” games anymore.

    The information in this article is very helpful. So long as we remember that the kids would rather us all sit down and play a board game rather than a Wii game, we can start to make family activity fun and productive.

    Will keep the tips about communication, education and imagination in mind too. I think they are very important.

  2. Izkata September 28, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Extremely important missing information: What age group do you mean by “kid”/”children”?

    • clinicallypsych October 3, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      According to the original report, the age range for the children within this study was between 5-15.

  3. Daniel Lim June 26, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Okay. But what is a solution for sibling rivalry and interactive disputes between children in family activities?

    And how does family based playtime helps a child to develop key concepts of socialization, communication and interactions??? I do not see clearly. Is their any experiments that explicitly show the process of children developing their main concepts of socialization, communication and interactions through family activities??

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