Toys That Help Parents and Kids Bond
If you're a parent of a preschooler or elementary age child then you've definitely experienced the conversation that goes something like, "How was school today?" "It was just school." And then your child takes off his coat and runs outside to play, leaving you feeling as if you two didn't connect. That's a conversation that parents get really tired of having. Luckily, there are toys that can help you bond with your child to open the flow of communication, ensuring that you'll get more than a 3 word answer to that question from now on.
Below you'll find a list of three types of kids toys that are great child/parent bonding tools. You'll also learn ways to play with each toy, so that you and your child can bond really well during every playtime.
Puzzles are fun kids toys for everyone. If you get one that's a little challenging for your child then you two can work together to decide where the puzzle pieces fit. Since it takes a good 30 minutes to connect the pieces this gives you time to connect with your child too. Consider getting puzzles with themes, like animals or places and that gives you a topic to start your conversation. If it's an animal puzzle you can talk about how cute the animal is and then ask your child what his favorite animal is, or how about his top 5 favorites. Then ask if any of his friends have cool pets and which one he likes best. Discuss types of animals he's learned about in school or seen on TV. If the puzzle has a picture of a place on it you could ask your child to tell you about his favorite place that he's been or what room in the house he likes best and why. Remember to share your thoughts as well, so your child learns about how a good conversation should flow. Let the puzzle spark tons of questions about real life that will give you personal insight into your child's thoughts and feelings.
Puppets are another great bonding toy that will spark lots of deep conversation between you and your child. When playing with puppets you can ask your child to name a real life situation such as: school day, play date with friends, argument with siblings, camping trip etc... and use that situation as your theme for the puppet show. This is a great time to find out how your child thinks when he is with friends, family, in school and more. Let your child take the lead and tell you about a situation that happened. If it's a challenging situation then ask how he thinks it could have been handled better and act it out with the puppets. If it's a fun situation, ask him what types of funny or silly things happened and act those out. This is a great way to get your child telling you about his life without him realizing he's spilling the beans! Use the puppets to roll play all kinds of life situations and soon enough you and your child will be quite connected.
Dolls or Action Figures
Dolls or action figures can spark all kinds of fun conversation between a child and parent. Get out your child's favorite doll or character set and place it on the table or floor. Tell your child that you want to play and ask him/her to come up with the rules. If playing with dolls, ask your daughter to show you how she likes to play and go along with the game. As you're playing talk to her about her mommy skills and ask her what she thinks is most important when playing mommy. If she has siblings, pretend that your doll is her doll's sibling and talk about scenarios that she can relate to and reenact them through role play. Use this time to ask her questions about family and connecting to parents and siblings and you'll be surprised at how much she'll tell you during playtime.
If you're playing with action figures allow your son to come up with fun games and watch how he interacts. If he wants to create fight scenes talk with him about fighting. Ask if he's ever seen anyone fight at school or if anyone has ever pushed him around and what he did about it, or would do about it. Talk with him about what he and his friends play when they're hanging out and ask questions about his daily life to establish that child/parent bond.
How Play Helps a Child/Parent Bond
Bonding with a child during playtime is so easy because kids don't know that's what you're doing. They just think that you're a cool parent who wants to hang out and spend time together having some fun, when you know you're actually trying to connect in a much deeper way. If you can weave rich conversation into playtime then your child will start to see that communicating with mom or dad can actually be a fun thing to do and he/she will start doing it more often. Who knew playtime could be so deep and rewarding!?