Real Life Solutions: Playtime

mintle03(2).jpgWe are proud to have Dr. Linda Mintle in ParentLife each month answering questions submitted from readers. To submit a question for Dr. Mintle, e-mail it to and include "? for Dr. Mintle" on the subject line. This month we have an extra Q&A from Dr. Mintle we wanted to share.

Q: How important is it for me as a parent to play with my child? I feel like I have so much to do during the day. My child has playmates in our neighborhood and likes to play alone with toys. I use playtime to get household chores done, but I am wondering if she needs more of my time.

A: I love your question because you intuitively know that being a Martha mom requires a bit more Mary time (Luke 10:38-42)! Playtime with you is important for your child no matter how many friends and activities she has. No one can make your child feel as special as you can.

It is worth taking time each day to engage in pretend play. Play is a learning activity that encourages verbal and logical skills and the development of relationship skills. Studies show that parents who play with their children have kids with better self-esteem and who are reinforced in their imaginations and creativity. So here are a few ideas.

Instead of cleaning with your mop, make it a puppet. Have your child develop a theme and become part of the pretend world. Be silly and have fun. You can play with puppets and stuffed animals and use them to teach your child real-life situations that present your values.

Old-fashioned games such as hide and go seek, hopscotch, and acting out a fairy tale are easy to do and will bring you and your child closer together. Put down the dust rag and play with your child. She won’t remember a clean house as much as the fun she had with Mom.


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