Strengthen relationship with your children by playing with them

Playful parenting ensures that parent-child relationship is strengthened through play. [iStockphoto]

This year's theme for Global Day of Parents is, 'The Promise of Playful Parenting'. Celebrated annually on June 1, this day honours parents for their sacrifices and support in building deeper relationships with their children. This special day recognises the vital role that parents play. 

According to Pew Research Centre, about three-quarters of US adults (73 per cent) rate spending time with family as one of the most important things, regardless of how much time they actually devote to it. Nine-in-10 say they view it either as one of the most important things or as very important but not the most important thing. Some Africans assume that since their children have basic needs, it is needless for them to engage further through play.

Playful parenting ensures that parent-children relationship is strengthened through play. Parents can engage with their kids by playing child-friendly board games, solving puzzles, reading out loud child-friendly books, storytelling, teaching them how to cook, going on hikes and adventures among others. By engaging kids in such activities, they grow up to be strong and healthy in all aspects. 

The parent-child relationship is affected when parents prioritise their jobs over spending quality time with their children. They tend to work late, come home exhausted, and go straight to bed. Some parents buy their children electronics; IPads and phones at such a young age as play tools.

Others are distracted by cartoons throughout the day as long as they are fed. Some parents harshly command their firstborn child, often referred to as the "deputy parent," to take care of their siblings by bathing them, warming leftover food and in extreme cases, disciplining them with the proverbial rod.

This burden affects the 'deputy parent', as they are given significant responsibilities and miss out on a typical childhood. When you encounter such children, it’s evident why they are responsible, strict and too serious about life. As children grow into adolescence, they face various challenges, particularly concerning their identity and personality type. Those raised by workaholic and absent parents often seek validation from anyone who offers attention and affection, leading to "daddy and mommy issues." 

In some cases, parents are so toxic they end up murdering their own children. Some parents sexually molest their children, especially females, thus impregnating and killing them to eliminate evidence. Some look down upon their children, seeing them as threats or competition, which results in denying them education and basic things. In other cases, there are mothers who become jealous of their daughter’s relationship with their husbands.

On the flip side, some parents provide healthy and nurturing environments. They dedicate quality time to bonding with their children, offering emotional, financial, psychological, and physical support to create cherished memories.

Children who grow up in such positive environments exhibit good manners, confidence, quick learning abilities and successful relationships. They thrive in school and in their careers. Hats off to these parents who overcome challenges to ensure their children lack nothing. Every child is unique and should be treated with equal care and attention. 

-Ms Tanui is a journalist