An Ode to Playfulness

parent playing with child

I saw the lava on the floor, bubbling and hurling its molting hot liquid from the couch to the coffee table. I could not let it touch me.

I pedaled as quickly as my legs let me before taking my hands off the handles to feel the wind rush past me. I needed to fly.

I climbed as high as I could on the tree to see how far my enemy’s ship was. I grabbed the broken branch, pointed in no direction, and yelled, “Arrrrrgh!!” I defended my crew.

I swam so fast past the octopus in the deep, blue sea. The tentacles created huge waves behind me as they failed to grab me. I laughed hard at its demise.

For over ten years, I have talked extensively about the importance of play to parents: it reduces stress, improves creativity, promotes imagination and problem-solving skills, and is an alternative to exercise. The information was for their children as much as the parents! With a multitude of research supporting the benefits of play, some other components are worth noting.

They want to play with YOU: Talk about maximizing the opportunity to connect with your child and be curious about how they view the world around them. Even if that tea party with 18 dolls or playing Minecraft is not your thing. You are the most valuable part of their play.

Experience Freedom: There is a sense of freedom when you allow your inner child to ignore the structure of playing or what you might look like. Scream dramatically when your child gets you with the water gun. Then, retaliate.

Core Memories are locked in: Think back to the fun memories you have of your parents playing with you. You may or may not remember the actual activities; it is, however, the joy you felt. Replicate the joy.

Yemi-Lekuti-flip

Yemi Lekuti, Ph.D, LPC, CGCS, CGP

I enjoy working with couples and families, addressing issues of faith, identity, and sexuality, parenting (biological, foster, adoptive), life transitions for teens and adults, play therapy for children, dating and marital issues, and social and multicultural concerns. It does not matter where you are in life or what you are dealing with, I am available via telehealth to help you understand your journey, reignite your passion, and support your goals in obtaining a fulfilling life.

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