In an earlier post, we talked about why play for good for children, but did you know that play is good for parents, too? Well, play is good for all adults period, but parents especially should get into the habit of playing regularly.
Why do adults need to play?
Similarly to children, play helps adults connect. It helps adults be more creative, more flexible, and learn better because it teaches us to improvise, innovate and adapt. There is a reason why Google’s offices are designed in such a way as to encourage employees to play and have fun. It’s because play:
- increases creativity and innovation
- increases productivity
- prevents burnout
- encourages teamwork
- improves stress management
- gives a new perspective on problems
Outside of work, play is the cure all for loneliness, depression, stress and anxiety because play makes us happy.
Playing for Parents
Play is great for parents because:
- it helps parents relieve stress – I’m sure no parent will argue with me that raising a child is a stressful job, indeed.
- it helps mend relationships – I’m sure we’ve all said and done things to our children in the heat of the moment that we wished we could take back.
- it keeps everyone happy – I don’t know whether it’s the chicken or the egg, but happy parents and happy kids go hand in hand.
Ironically, no matter how tired I am and how aggro I feel, when I take the time and make the effort to play with the boys, I actually find myself in a better spirits after. I feel ready to take on more and ready to give more. In return, the boys are better behaved and are much less taxing on my nerves (which are also a lot less frazzled after a round or two of play).
Heck, play’s also good for your relationship with your spouse. There was one incident I clearly remember… hubby and I were fighting about something (can’t even remember what it was) and we weren’t really talking to each other. Then hubby asked me to help him fix the doona (you know how it falls in on itself and one part of the cover is empty?) because he couldn’t do it on his own. So we were standing together, shaking out the doona and suddenly I felt like a kid playing the parachute game. I caught myself smiling and tried hard to stifle it. I think hubby must have felt the same because he commented on feeling like a kid again. And that was the end of the fight.
Photo credit: Kid Activities
If you aren’t convinced about the value of play, you should watch the TED Talks video on “Play is More than Fun” by Stuart Brown. I loved the part about the polar bear and the husky – it was really compelling.
So the next time your children ask you to play with them, remember, it’s not just for them, it’s good for you, too.
- Play, Creativity, and Lifelong Learning
- The Importance of Play for Adults – PsychCentral
- The Importance of Play for Adults – First Things First