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A woman holding a young girl up in the air.
It is time to stop watching our kids play, and really get in there and play with our kids.  As a play therapist, I feel like I see parents sitting back and watching their kids play more and more.  I support that, too, because I think that kids should learn to entertain themselves, but there is also a time to play with our kids.  Last year, at a meeting for work, we were all shocked to see the statistics that support this post:  The average parent spends LESS THAN 20 minutes a day playing with their kids.

I was shocked, until I really thought about it what it meant.  I thought about how often I get down on the floor and playing with our kids.

Playing is not observing.  

  • It is not reading while your child plays.
  • It is not watching them dance around in a Cinderella costume.
  • It is not watching them build a tower out of legos.

Playing is playing.

  • It is reading with them.
  • It is dancing around with them.
  • It is building with them.
  • It is getting on the floors, doing an activity with them, even when we are too tired to play.TIP –>>> Mix it up when you get bored of playing the same thing.   Find a new activity- make it fun for yourself!  Find toys and games that you would have loved to have played when you were little!

The holidays are a great time to find toys that you will be able to use together.   Our daughter, for example, is at the perfect age for toys that I can remember playing with and toys that I can’t wait to use, too.

A Christmas tree with unopened Barbie Dolls under it.

This year, she asked for a Barbie Flip & Reveal Deluxe Styling Head.  Let the styling fun begin!  I was so excited because I can still remember playing with the same type of toy at my friend, Sarah’s house.  We would put makeup on her and fix her hair.

A close up of a Barbie Doll.

My goal, as a parent, is to always play, one on one,  with each our kids.    Of course, I want them to play alone, but just 20 minutes a day makes a huge difference to your child.  20 minutes of one-on-one time without any distractions.  It helps you to bond with your child and gives you a great chance to teach your child (talk to them and listen to them).

When I find toys that I think are going to be fun, I look forward to that playtime as much as our kids do.

This Barbie Flip & Reveal Deluxe Styling Head is so fun because Barbie’s hair holds a hidden surprise- when you flip her beautiful locks from left to right to reveal a bright shade of pink (or royal purple, depending on which one you buy).

A close up of a Barbie Doll head and shoulders.
Allie doesn’t know yet, but the magic nail and lip applicator can transform Barbie’s nails and lips to a beautiful shade of dark pink!   I’m sure she’ll be using the included stencils to create fun colored designs with the chalk marker.

Or decorate her nails with the tiny stickers!  (Her dad will probably like that part! haha.  Mickey is more talented in the art department than me).    You can comb Barbie’s hair with the little pink brush, or style and braid it into fabulous up-dos with the pink hair bands!   You can even add hair extensions.

A close up of a Barbie Doll head and shoulders.

She also asked for a “Giant Barbie”, as she put it.   This Barbie 28″ Doll really lets them have imaginative fun.   It comes with a necklace and purse accessory and has on a cute outfit, including removable shoes.    My niece is getting one, too, so they can each collect the rest & swap accessories and clothes.

Barbie Doll still in its box.
The Barbie has articulated limbs for moving and posing Barbie how you like.   It stands at over 2′ tall.   I like it because it helps to teach children role-playing and social skills, plus matching & coordinating (which is always a good life skill!) :).   It comes with a necklace and purse accessory.  I’m sure the realistic hair with the comb will be fun, too… and the rooted eyelashes. 🙂   It’s perfect for ages 3 & up.
A Barbie Doll standing.

I want to encourage you to play with your kids today- really get down on the floor and play with them.  Put everything else aside (leave your phone in the other room).

To help you get started today, here are a few suggestions:

  • Schedule it if you have to.   Schedule your playtime.  Set aside time, every day, that is devoted to your child.   Maybe it is 12:00 right after lunch?   Whatever works for you- just be ALL there.
  • Mix it up when you get bored of playing the same thing.   Find a new activity- make it fun for yourself!  Find toys and games that you would have loved to have played when you were little!
  • Listen to your kids as they play with you and talk to them.  Don’t just be “there”, but really be in the moment.  So many times I feel like we are “there” but we aren’t “really there”.

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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