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Playful Parenting ❮Read❯ ➪ Playful Parenting Author Lawrence J. Cohen – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk Have you ever stepped back to watch what really goes on when your children play As psychologist Lawrence J Cohen points out, play is children s way of exploring the world, communicating deep feelings, Have you ever stepped back to watch what really goes on when your children play As psychologist Lawrence J Cohen points out, play is children s way of exploring the world, communicating deep feelings, getting close to those they care about, working through stressful situations, and simply blowing off steam That s why Playful Parenting is so important and so successful in building strong, close bonds between parents and children Through play we join our kids in their world and help them to Express and understand complex emotions Break through shyness, anger, and fear Empower themselves and respect diversity Play their way through sibling rivalry Cooperate without power strugglesFrom eliciting a giggle during baby s first game of peekaboo to cracking jokes with a teenager while hanging out at the mall, Playful Parenting is a complete guide to using play to raise confident children Written with love and humor, brimming with good advice and revealing anecdotes, and grounded in the latest research, this bookwill make you laugh even as it makes you wise in the ways of being an effective, enthusiastic parent.


10 thoughts on “Playful Parenting

  1. Kimberly OutspokenMom Kimberly OutspokenMom says:

    I had thought a lot about what parenting was going to mean for me and how I was going to go about it I read a lot of different books covering all areas in great detail and discussedit with my partner When my son arrived the experienced surpassed the greatest of expectations Being the mother to a baby was just wonderful BUT THEN one day, our baby was a boy who wanted to PLAY He really showed that he needed me to get down on the floor and PLAY with him and his toys I was totally unprepared f I had thought a lot about what parenting was going to mean for me and how I was going to go about it I read a lot of different books covering all areas in great detail and discussedit with my partner When my son arrived the experienced surpassed the greatest of expectations Being the mother to a baby was just wonderful BUT THEN one day, our baby was a boy who wanted to PLAY He really showed that he needed me to get down on the floor and PLAY with him and his toys I was totally unprepared for this I could do it for a bit, but then after a while I was exasperated and he was restless After some time of games like putting all the farm animals in the correct part of the plastic barn and pretend feeding them and putting them to sleep, it was just SO BORING and I couldn t think of what to do next I felt terribly guilty about checking my watch throughout and then I felt like I was the most boring and unimaginative person ever I felt there was obviously some wonderful world of fantasy and fun he was in which I as an adult had lost For the first time I felt disconnected from him After a few pages of this book, I got down on the floor with my son and played with gusto I loved it and I could tell that my son was enjoying it He is only a year and a half His eyes lit up and at the end of one game that same afternoon he really just looked at me into my eyes with some new curiosity and he stopped repeatedly and intermittently to give me huge hugs in a way which he had never done before.They were not the regular cuddly hugs, butlike this is new, we re having fun together aren t we hugs We d started a new way of being together The book affected not only the way we play together but it introduced for me a whole new way of being a parent which has made it evenrewarding for me I felt that I had as much as I could really got to grips with what I wanted to do in terms of the attachment parenting issues, disciplining , communication, connecting and all the practical parts of parenting, but here was the fun and the drive to infuse ALL of those areas Each page is packed with intelligent thought provoking ideas and sometimes very serious issues, all of which are embedded in such simple and funny anecdotes from his own practice that there is never a dry or heavy moment There are suggestions HOW to play, how to enjoy it as a parent and how to make the most of it for your child as well as your connection with your child I also knew that playing was also really important for the development of a child, but I d just taken this as a given and never spent much thought on what it actually meant Cohen s ideas about why it is developmentally important opened my eyes It makes one really think about how to play and Cohen has so many smart ideas about how to use play to contribute as a parent to that development I know that there are those who really believe that children should learn as soon as possible to play by themselves and you might get the impression you have to spend time, which you do not have, playing for ever But this book is about making the whole of parenting fun and rewarding for everyone PLUS, our boy DOES now play by himself as well as with me and he is fantastic at initiating games with other children After all as a parent, you can only be that much fun at the end of the dayHe plays loud intense and funny games with his toys by himself and sometimes I have to stop myself from bothering him and joining in Groundbreaking


  2. Carissa Carissa says:

    I had a love hate relationship with this book I feel like it motivated me to play with my childrenIt also made me rethink the value of play and what certain types of play mean Due to this book, I played a game where my young son took away my shoes and I cried and cried about how I wanted them back My son loved the game and due to reading this book, I could see where this would be fun for him when in real life, I m the one taking things away from him So there were nuggets that were gle I had a love hate relationship with this book I feel like it motivated me to play with my childrenIt also made me rethink the value of play and what certain types of play mean Due to this book, I played a game where my young son took away my shoes and I cried and cried about how I wanted them back My son loved the game and due to reading this book, I could see where this would be fun for him when in real life, I m the one taking things away from him So there were nuggets that were gleaned from this reading experience.That being said, this book was long and super repetitive I was aggravated by the poor organization that allowed such repetitiveness It wasn t very user friendly either I waited a long time for answers to simple questions For example, I wanted to know how often I should play with my children It took the author forever to get around to answering this question and it was never answered to my satisfaction The author spent a lot of reading time relating stories and metaphors without clearly stating what playful parenting is and how it s done.The second thing that bothered me the most, was the author himself His writing came off as condescending and judgmental towards us poor parents who just don t know what to do Some of his real life stories bugged me as well For instance, he relates one story of a mother who he considered was being overprotective of her child and therefore, inhibiting her child Rather than create an awkward situation by pointing this out to her, he made a game of it The game was to exaggerate her behaviors to help her see how ridiculous she was being He seemed very proud that he corrected her without embarrassing her I, personally, found his approachrude and humiliating than if he would have just told her she was being overprotective Although both are bad things to do in my opinion What gave him the right to judge her and her parenting If she was asking for his help, that s one thing, but she wasn t It wasn t his place to correct her There was another section where the author talks about parents helping and supporting one another He suggests instead of ignoring a fellow parent and child where the child is throwing a tantrum, to walk up the the parent and say, Wow Looks like you ve had a long day Um, that s supposed to be helpful and supportive I m sure in the middle of my child s tantrum, I would love for a stranger to come up to me and guess how my day was going based on the ten seconds they ve observed me So helpful Of course, he also gave the suggestion to stand by, offering a supportive smile Who doesn t want an audience to their child s tantrum The only suggestion I found helpful was when he recommended assisting the parent of a child throwing a tantrum by taking out their groceries.Another thing I didn t like was that the author seemed to expect the reader to believe broad, sweeping statements without providing the research to back them up This book was very anecdotal For instance, the author would have been a lotcredible in his disdain for the cry it out method if he would have backed that up with evidence, rather than a general statement from his experience counseling adults who were left to cry it out as babies There were many other things that bothered me As with any other parenting book, the author claimed that his ideas would solve ALL problems and would fit any parent child mold By the end of the book, I wasn t convinced.It also annoyed me that children were never to blame for their problems and it seemed like the parents were held completely responsible for their child s behavior Your child is acting out, why it s because you re not connected with her If you played with your child , she wouldn t be acting like this The political correctness of it all drove me a little crazy Instead of calling a temper tantrum a fit therefore blaming the child , let s call it a fight and make it our problem.There was constant, Even though a child is acting like this, it really means this Of course his assessments would be right some of the time However, he never seemed to consider other factors Like maybe a child is hungry or tired or maybe their behavior doesn t have a logical reason at all To me, human behavior and motivations are too complex to be dumbed down as much as the author dumbed down kids behavior Sometimes there is just one reason for people s actions, butoften than not, there are several I didn t necessarily hate this book despite the multiple times I wanted to chuck it across the room and couldn t dang e books It was just a matter of finding the few gems amongst all that other stuff This would probably be much higher rated if I had skimmed it and checked it out from the library I know it will forever change how I view play, and for that, I am grateful.2 Stars


  3. Nicole Johns Nicole Johns says:

    This book is a must read for those in the attachment parenting camp, and any other parent wanting to havefun,connection andhappy times with their children Cohen gives concrete examples of how to connect with kids using play, including rough housing, games, silly antics and everyday activities The basics Children misbehave when they are disconnected In order to reach the kids, we need to re connect The best way to do this is in the language of children play We have to l This book is a must read for those in the attachment parenting camp, and any other parent wanting to havefun,connection andhappy times with their children Cohen gives concrete examples of how to connect with kids using play, including rough housing, games, silly antics and everyday activities The basics Children misbehave when they are disconnected In order to reach the kids, we need to re connect The best way to do this is in the language of children play We have to look at challenges not as something to fix in the children, but as a problems to solve together with the child ren We must allow children to express their feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, joy, etc even when it is uncomfortable for the adults Until the emotions are fully felt and released the kids carry them around Eventually those feelings come out in the form of bullying, disobedience, violence, recklessness, etc Cohen s big idea is that isolation and disconnection are the cause of problems in families Reading this book has already changed my life, by changing the way I look at life with a two year old, and even my behavior One idea that will stay with me say yes as often as possible So often we go on automatic pilot and say no to every request and idea But most of what children want to do or ask is really not worth a no Children should be given the chance to try new things within safety limits, although we often exaggerate the danger in a outing, challenge, game, etc , they need to learn new things, try to solve problems and explore the world with their senses and intellect This idea doesn t mean your child gets to eat candy every night for dinner or gets every toy that crosses her path, but it means to open yourself up to the fun and unexpected learning in everyday activities and unexpected adventures My life is easier because when faced with a whining or negative toddler, I make a funny face, dance a silly dance or just give him a big tight hug Most of the time things turn around right away and we get back to having fun or accomplishing the task at hand Connection is the key Kids want and need our attention They will get it any way they can Instead of punishing unwanted behavior, why not examine your own reasons for considering it unwanted or bad , and then see a way to work it out with the child Maybe your kid is just bored or lonely or tired, not determined to make your day a living hell Parenting is a contact sport, not a passive activity.One tactic mentioned a lot on the book is just simply falling down like a fool, another is wrestling Physical contact is key to connection You also have to be willing to play the fool Your child feels like a fool so often in their lives, they don t know all the answers, feel awkward in social situations, get told what to do by everyone so once in a while it would be nice for us parents to play the fool, let the kid be the leader, the smart one, the winner Yes, Cohen suggests that we lose on purpose to our kids, and play up to their limits In beating us, kids grow confident, learn the game and get to be the victor Who doesn t like to win Our egos should be able to handle the lose, and some day the kids will ask us to stop letting them win.Cohen acknowledges that sometimes the last thing we want to do is get on the floor and play Barbies or build a blanket fort, but that s the work of parenting Through play we connect, we bond, our children grow to trust us, and we lay the groundwork for all the big things that lay in the future It is time intensive and occasionally boring, but playful parenting is also fun, joyful and a great learning experience I hope I keep up the good work


  4. Cyndi Cyndi says:

    Cohen has tremendous energy and creativity in using play therapy to connect with children and help them deal with difficult feelings and impulses What a fresh approach to parenting Reading the first several chapters, I was amazed and impressed at how he looks at troubling behavior, mindfully tries to reframe it, seeking to understand the struggle going on inside the child, and help that child come through it in an atmosphere of loving support Cohen seems remarkably intuitive, and senses when Cohen has tremendous energy and creativity in using play therapy to connect with children and help them deal with difficult feelings and impulses What a fresh approach to parenting Reading the first several chapters, I was amazed and impressed at how he looks at troubling behavior, mindfully tries to reframe it, seeking to understand the struggle going on inside the child, and help that child come through it in an atmosphere of loving support Cohen seems remarkably intuitive, and senses when to mirror, when to do a role switching game, whether roughhousing is the way to go, or not He describes many encounters with his daughter, and other children, in which their moods are quickly transformed I wonder if the kids weren t at times just humoring him As I continued to read, it occurred to me, this guy is a little out of touch with normal family life he has one child, and he gets paid to play with children, a job which he clearly enjoys very much From his comfortable situation, it is easy for him to advocate this approach and denigrate all others He makes a case against the traditional tools of positive discipline, time outs, bribes, rewards, and punishments For most parents, however, there are countless things vying for our time and attention We have to balance the needs of partners, other children, career, education, community involvement, health hygiene, household chores, leisure, and so on The techniques that he criticizes are effective and fast, when used appropriately Time outs can be effective, and provide the breathing space for both parent and child to regroup individually before reconnecting Bribes can be bad, but they can also be a great temporary solution to get over a hump and then be phased out Same thing with rewards Appropriate punishments send a clear message fast, so long as we aren t trying to control our kids with threats That never works for long, anyway.A central message in Cohen s book is that our kids need to feel connected with their parents, not isolated from them I agree But kids need some downtime to process what is happening Having a grown up sit there with you through every developmental struggle, interpret it for you, and try to teach you lessons about it, will not always be helpful Indeed, I feel it could be harmful Kids are capable of processing things in their own ways, and some kids will do thiseffectively given some alone time If parents model good self control most of the time, kids will learn to regulate emotions and express them positively All in all, this is a great resource on being playful, but I m not buying his gospel sermons against the other tools Rewards punishments, etc have their place We can absolutely have securely attached children and still use these behavioral methods But I sincerely believe that if all parents could would connect with their kids through play every day, society would be transformed


  5. Sandra Blackard Sandra Blackard says:

    Pretend that we re really gonna be late and you re really mad Imagine your child saying that when you re grumpy and trying to get out the door in the morning Games work for kids and parents, too Playful Parenting is a psychological look at what works with kids It includes the memorable analogy of filling a child s cup with connection to meet his her needs Dr Cohen clearly establishes that meeting children s needs is the key to long term behavior management as opposed to reward and pun Pretend that we re really gonna be late and you re really mad Imagine your child saying that when you re grumpy and trying to get out the door in the morning Games work for kids and parents, too Playful Parenting is a psychological look at what works with kids It includes the memorable analogy of filling a child s cup with connection to meet his her needs Dr Cohen clearly establishes that meeting children s needs is the key to long term behavior management as opposed to reward and punishment behavior modification methods


  6. Francis Norton Francis Norton says:

    Keynes famously said Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist and in a similar way, many of us are probably unwitting inheritors of a behaviourist view of parenting that suggests we somehow should be punishing or rewarding behaviour at its face value.Lawrence Cohen offers another perspective, based on personal and professional experience, and two simple and reasonably common sense ideas The fir Keynes famously said Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist and in a similar way, many of us are probably unwitting inheritors of a behaviourist view of parenting that suggests we somehow should be punishing or rewarding behaviour at its face value.Lawrence Cohen offers another perspective, based on personal and professional experience, and two simple and reasonably common sense ideas The first idea is attachment theory, which he explains with the metaphor of a cup when a child s attachment cup is full of attachment and connectedness to an attachment figure then they have the confidence and security to explore their world and the people in it The second idea is that children use play to model and test whatever s on their mind, especially roles and relationships.So when a child says you re a stinker , Cohen s response is to take it playfully not personally He whispers Don t tell anyone my secret name only my closest friends call me Stinker and the play begins.The whole book is informed by his life as a father and his work as a play therapist, and I have found it to be immensely practical in reducing the stresses and conflicts caused by misunderstanding situations and communications I m currently re reading the book after a year or so, and it s almost scary to recognise how many recent minor parenting triumphs had their roots in my first reading of the book.Is there a down side Of course sometimes it s hard to find the energy to play on the floor, or the time just to sit together on the sofa But how much energy and time does it take to do things the other way, and with how much less laughter and pleasure


  7. Ruby Ruby says:

    Very mixed feelings on this one On the plus side, Cohen offers some absolute gems of advice, and he has well and truly convinced me to incorporate muchplaytime with my boy and even gasp wrestle and play guns with him On the down side, the book badly needed an editing job I found it rambling and repetitive I think this book would have benefitted from someone experienced in laying out non fiction, with lots of dot point summaries at the end of each chapter and a harsh red penning of Very mixed feelings on this one On the plus side, Cohen offers some absolute gems of advice, and he has well and truly convinced me to incorporate muchplaytime with my boy and even gasp wrestle and play guns with him On the down side, the book badly needed an editing job I found it rambling and repetitive I think this book would have benefitted from someone experienced in laying out non fiction, with lots of dot point summaries at the end of each chapter and a harsh red penning of repetitive information He could have conveyed the same information muchconcisely if he had not repeated himself so much The other thing that bothered me a lot about the book was how smug and condescending Cohen was There were a couple of instances where he actually went in and judged or intervened in another parent s decision making No parent wants unsolicited advice, and every child is too unique to make a snap judgement like that He struck me as very arrogant and not terribly understanding towards parents at times I think he would be a pretty annoying person to know Even so, I have highlighted many of hissalient points as notes to self and I will certainly try some of his techniques with my little guy


  8. Fiona Fiona says:

    I read this when my daughter was smaller, and found it to be a really helpful book I have to admit that my child is quite an easy child, but I think part of that is due to the way I interact with her due to this book What made the biggest impression on me in this book is the idea that you can pick your battles, and you can also have fun with your child instead of escalating a battle of wills, especially with a child who can t really communicate his or her feelings effectively at this point I read this when my daughter was smaller, and found it to be a really helpful book I have to admit that my child is quite an easy child, but I think part of that is due to the way I interact with her due to this book What made the biggest impression on me in this book is the idea that you can pick your battles, and you can also have fun with your child instead of escalating a battle of wills, especially with a child who can t really communicate his or her feelings effectively at this point If your child doesn t want to brush her teeth, race her to the bathroom, and then, while you are brushing her teeth, explain to her while it s important The resistance is lowered because she had fun.I was raised by very old school parents who were strict disciplinarians, and I think there s a time and a place for that if certain things occur, but if you can have fun with your kid, teach a lesson, and get things done, there s nothing wrong with that


  9. Natali Natali says:

    While this book did help me think aboutplayful ways to communicate with my children, I wished it were organized differently The author talks about the Playful Parenting method a lot but doesn t really ever articulate exactly what it is He just says that it is this philosophy or that philosophy I guess you can see each chapter as an articulation of the method but I kept waiting for aclear explanation and it never came Also, this book has a lot of specific anecdotes You can While this book did help me think aboutplayful ways to communicate with my children, I wished it were organized differently The author talks about the Playful Parenting method a lot but doesn t really ever articulate exactly what it is He just says that it is this philosophy or that philosophy I guess you can see each chapter as an articulation of the method but I kept waiting for aclear explanation and it never came Also, this book has a lot of specific anecdotes You can read between the lines to figure out how to apply them to your parenting lifestyle but that leaves a lot to be desired I wished that he would givespecific guidelines for age groups such as infancy, toddlers, pre teens, etc In all, this is a worthy read because of the way it helps you to communicate with your children on their level and notice the ways you might have been missing the mark in the past


  10. Mary Ann Mary Ann says:

    Very interesting perspective on parenting The message that has really stuck with me is the fact that if kids are acting up, all they may need is even a few minutes of our undivided attention to really reconnect, then they will be just fine Taking those few minutes could save hours of struggling and grief Plus, we need to have fun and connect with kids on their level once in a while I ve only been a parent for a year and a half and I already forget that often.As far as the discipline section Very interesting perspective on parenting The message that has really stuck with me is the fact that if kids are acting up, all they may need is even a few minutes of our undivided attention to really reconnect, then they will be just fine Taking those few minutes could save hours of struggling and grief Plus, we need to have fun and connect with kids on their level once in a while I ve only been a parent for a year and a half and I already forget that often.As far as the discipline section goes, it was refreshing to me I have never really been a fan of time outs, and I love the idea of doing couch time instead, where you time out together, talk about it, and reconnect I ve heard of the concept for spouses, so why not do it with the kids, too My oldest is still a toddler so really talking it out together will still be hard, but it sounds like a great alternative to isolating him or spanking him, especially since he is still learning the boundaries and I want to be consistent but avoid being harsh


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