Adventures In Spiritual Living

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Enjoy Playing With Your Children

Kaye Cooper

Enjoy Life-Age 3-5

Give your child the gift of enjoying life—schedule a daily playtime with each one individually.

Special Time

Playing with your child doesn’t mean scheduling all sorts of group sports or lessons. Set up regular one-on-one Special Time with her each day. Let her lead. Provide the materials and maybe an idea or two to get her started. Then watch her take over and get creative. Let go of a need to win or to teach her the fine points of a game. Nothing squashes fun like criticism. Directing her own play lets a child feel powerful.

Set up time each day to do anything she chooses with you. This Special Time can be one 20-minute time or two 10-minute times. Try to make it the same time each day. Set a timer to signal the end of her time. Treat this time with respect. Never threaten to take away Special Time.  Avoid interruptions. Let her be the boss and lead the play. You are her assistant. Let go and have fun!

Encourage Optimism

Realize that during these two years from three to five, your preschooler will be absorbing your style of responding to life: optimism or pessimism, enthusiasm or bored irritation. He will understand events as beneficial or harmful because of the way you react to events. Choose to look at life as an intriguing learning experience, so he will optimistically look forward to learning, too. Select his books, movies, and cartoons carefully because they will influence his attitude about life as well. Use a character from a book or a stuffed animal, action figure, or puppet to explain things to him optimistically. Maintaining an optimistic view of life enriches his enjoyment of life in childhood and as an adult.

Build Zest

Your preschooler’s biggest job is to be curious—to develop intense interest in things. Zest is enthusiasm coupled with being willing to spend your time and energy on something you value. Whether one is a three-year-old or an adult, living life with zest involves getting fully engaged—enjoying learning about what interests him, good humor, games, art, teamwork, the outdoors, physical activity, and all the other things that interest him. As he matures, zest will not only bring joy, it will stimulate motivation, a directed sense of purpose that he can use to achieve his goals. 

As you enjoy time with your child, keep in mind, a child’s best memories usually come from playing with Mom or Dad.

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