Playful Parenting – A book review

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Through Play

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how challenging discipline situations can be met with play. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I was first introduced to the book Playful Parenting through Code Name Mama. She started an online book club and this was the first book up for discussion. I had the best of intentions to read the assigned portions each week and participate in the online discussion questions. I really did! My local library had the book, it was signed out and I would be next on the list.  I  finally checked out the book and dove in! It was so refreshing and enlightening to read. I had little post-it notes sticking out of several pages with points that I wanted to write down and remember. Well, I don’t know how it works at your house, but I rarely get time to myself to sit and read. I try to read before I fall asleep at night, but often I’ll read a few pages and I’m ready to fall asleep. So the online book club started and ended without me. I was too slow. Here we are a year later  I’m finally getting my thoughts about Playful Parenting down. This is one of those books that stays with you after you read it, I loved it! It’s a true gem of a parenting book and I really feel any parent could benefit from reading it more than once.
One of the main ideas I took away from the book was learning to make those ‘connections’ with my kids on a daily basis. Dr. Cohen speaks about keeping our child’s cup full. We can do this through  making meaningful connections with our children. Playtime can boost our children’s confidence and strengthen that parent-child bond and help us make these connections.  The book is full of a lot of simple, yet sage advice for parents. He encourages parents to simply set aside playtime. Most parents know this is a lot easier said than done. The simple act of setting up some one on one time( start with 10-15 minutes) with your child can lead to connection, engagement, and interaction. This is time when you follow the child’s lead with no interruptions and give them your undivided attention. Playing with your children, really playing..wrestling, pillow fighting, following -their- lead  kind of play can be beneficial in so many ways.
Dr. Cohen gives some simple steps that parents can take to make those connections on a daily basis.  Making eye contact, cuddling, offering  forgiveness, or a simple hug are simple ways we can take ourselves less seriously and make those connections. Parents and children alike often turn away from connection when they feel bad about themselves, we put ourselves in what Dr. Cohen calls the “tower of isolation.”
This parenting job isn’t easy, we’re exhausted and grumpy after a long day.   Making that simple connection with our kids can make a world of difference. He encourages us with simple strategies such as choosing time together on the couch instead of time out. This is a simple time to reconnect without a power struggle.
Issues such as sibling rivalry and discipline are also addressed. It’s really a jam-packed resource of valuable parenting strategies. It was a very easy-to-read book with lots of real life examples from children just like yours and mine. It really gives us some insight to some of our children’s behavior. He really peeks into the lives of children. He gives us a glimpse of what our children’s less than ideal behavior may really be trying to communicate with us. Did you know your child’s behavior is a coded message?
I highly recommend this book to any parent. I also suggest after reading it you check out the online discussion over at Code Name Mama.  Dr. Cohen is currently working on some new projects that are so exciting. He has a new book The Art of Roughhousing. He also has a Playful Parenting yahoo group and newsletter that are really inspiring. You can also find him on twitter.
Do you consider yourself a playful parent? Has playing helped release tense filled situations around your house? Do tell!!

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon September 13 with all the carnival links.)

    • On being a more playful parent — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares how the Playful Parenting book impacted her.
    • Parenting a toddler through play — Alicia at I Found My Feet lists some examples of how she uses play to parent through everyday tasks and challenges.
    • Splashing in Puddles — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares how she learned to get dirty and have fun with her little boy.
    • Say Please — Cassie at There’s a Pickle in My Life explains how they taught their son manners by “play,” showing that actions speak louder than words.
    • No Nanny Needed — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life wishes parenting through play was her only responsibility during the day.

I’ll Run Away With Gypsies — Nikalee at Spotted Pandemonium maneuvers physical and emotional obstacles while spinning playful tales, jumping through hoops, and inspiring the kids to clean the living room.

 

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9 thoughts on “Playful Parenting – A book review”

  1. How lovely the book had such long lasting feelings for you – so many things seem to go in one way and out the other don’t they? It’s one I’ve not read but I think I’m going to check it out now, so thanks for sharing your thoughts on it! I’m not very playful so I could certainly benefit from this.

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  2. Thanks for this great review. Dionna just recommended this book to me and, after reading this post, I’m heading to the library today to see if they have it or if I can request it. I looks like just what I need to get me going on the road to playful parenting.(Oh, and I’m like you – I never get time to read! I end up extending my checked-out books for as long as the library will let me because I can’t finish in their 3-week time limit!)

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  3. I was another one who borrowed the bookfrom the library intending to participate in Diona’s online book club. Umm, yeah, it didn’t happen for me either. I didn’t make it through the entire book before I had to return it but I did get a lot out of the parts I was able to read and have incorporated a number of ideas from the book. Definitely, turning to play has defused tension in my house and I can’t recommend it enough.

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  4. Playful Parenting is such a wonderful book. It’s really the one that opened my eyes to how important play is as the way children communicate and work through feelings. I realized that NOT playing with them was not an option! I need to re-check it out of my library, too!(And I have sooo many fines from checking out books to the max … and then still not turning them in, lol.)

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  5. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate a good book review!! Of course, now I really want to read this one… Thank you for taking the time to lay this all out.

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  6. Seems like a book I’d like to read. But with all of the review stuff coming my way, I guess it’ll have to wait. Ugh. Books just keep piling up. And I do read… lots… there’s just so much great stuff out there

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