Pressures are high and patience is low as parents raise their children amid greater economic stress, but playing with children relieves the stress of parenting and work! Attachment Parenting International reminds parents there is more to play during this October 2011 Attachment Parenting Month. During AP month, parents are challenged to re-examine their daily activities and traditions and learn new ways to engage respectfully with their children, in play, as a way to grow with each other and remain close.
The month is marked by celebrations and awareness raising by API’s non-profit global network of parenting support groups with more than 60 chapters in the U.S. and abroad, along with partners, AskDrSears.com, Mothering.com, play expert Fred Donaldson, the Million Minute Family Challenge, Pure Play Kids, Dr Sears L.E.A.N, and Infant Massage USA under this year’s theme, Families at Play: Nurturing Parent-Child Relationships through Play.
PLAY HAS A PURPOSE
Play helps to build relationships. Play helps children make sense of the world. It aids physical development. It is an opportunity for children to create an identity, learn their capabilities, challenge themselves, and to learn how to relate to others and their environment. Play lays out the foundation for social, emotional, cognitive and physical skills.
When parents engage in play with their children, priceless and precious time, attention, and felt love is being shared and experienced in the context of fun. Tensions can be released, softened and even dissolved. In addition parents who engage with their children in a playful and intentional manner are sending a powerful message to their children that they matter more than whatever else competes for the parents’ time.
GET IN THE GAME
Through our AP Month theme this year, Attachment Parenting International along with the Sears family, the Million Minute Family Challenge, and other prominent Attachment Parenting supporters, aim to coach parents back into the game, helping them become more aware of the importance of parent-child play while offering fun, easy ways to beneficially engage through play with their families.
Many parents feel played out in one way or another. However, while there’s certainly a case to be made for plentiful solitary and peer-oriented ―child’s play, and organized sports, parents who regularly play with their children are doing so much more than ―just having a little fun.
Not only do the children benefit, but the parents and the parent-child relationship benefit too. Maybe most important of all, when parents engage in joyful, collaborative play with their children, the child receives a powerful message that 1) they matter more than whatever else competes for your time and 2) running, playing and having fun is an important and worthwhile activity for everyone at all ages.
Child’s play is universal, recognized as developmentally important and even referred to as a child’s first and primary language – for years. “Through our AP Month theme this year, we aim to coach parents (back) into the game, helping them become more aware of the importance of parent-child play while offering fun, easy ways to beneficially engage through play with their families,” said Art Yuen, AP Month event coordinator.
SIMON SAYS TO VISIT AP MONTH CENTRAL
Visit AP Month Central for more information about how you can participate in making AP Month’s Families at Play a grand success for families across our global community. We invite communities to join with us as we work to draw attention to and work to provide the support and information necessary for parents to raise connected, happy children.
During the month of October, AP Month partners will be sharing information about Families at Play. API will launch a free daily family activity calendar of motivating tips and activities, and even giveaways; API Speaks, the blog of API will host a ―Families at Play‖ blog carnival and submissions are invited; API Live! Teleseminar will feature a special episode with Larry Cohen, author of Playful Parenting; essays and photo entries will illustrate the theme and submissions are welcome; a lively online auction of gifts, one-of-kind items, services, travel and more will help sustain the education and support efforts of API’s mission; and a national membership campaign will help spread the word about the importance of parents, not just programs, in their children’s health. The AP Month online auction event launches October 1.
We hope that our activities celebrating Attachment Parenting month will help to recognize the difference API has made and to continue to raise the profile of Attachment Parenting, enabling these communities to spread the word and benefit even more parents and their children,‖ said Barbara Nicholson, author of Attached at the Heart and Co-founder of API.
Melanie Mayo-Laakso is the Content Manager for Mothering.com. Mothering is the birthplace of natural family living and attachment parenting. We celebrate the experience of parenthood as worthy of one's best efforts and are at once fierce advocates for children and gentle supporters of parents.