By: Panicha Sillapawatayanon, M.A.
When our children are babies, we play with them by cooing, bouncing them on our knees, or playing peek-a-boo. These interactions help babies gain trust, security, and joy, as they learn to connect with their caregivers. But when life moves forward and our children grow older, it’s easy for us to get caught up by the stress of work, financial difficulties, illnesses, or any of life’s challenges that we forget to maintain our connection with them. And of course, your child might want to play with you when you least feel like playing with them! Attachment play is a wonderful resource for building a connection, and only 20-30 minutes of playtime a day could help you restore your connection with your child. Research studies have supported the effectiveness of attachment activities in helping children with emotional and behavioral problems—though attachment play can benefit everyone.
It is never too late to engage your children in this type of play. A major advantage of attachment-based play is that it does not require any special toys or materials. You can use what you already have at home (pillows, dolls, and even cotton balls!). You can also play with your child anywhere and anytime, whether it is on the playground or in your car. And if you have more children in your home, you can involve them too!
Here are some attachment activities I recommend to strengthen your connection to your child (these work best with children 3 and up!)
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"Watch your thoughts,
They become words.
Watch your words,
They become actions.
Watch your actions,
They become habits.
Watch your habits,
They become character;
It becomes your destiny."