This book is wonderful! The mindset of playful parenting has brought such joy not only to my kids and family but to ME as well.
It does take effort to get in the mood and get ready to tumble but the payoff is immense. And it's not been hours of play, it's injecting play in normal daily routines that has worked for me.
Just off the top of my head, after reading this book and taking some suggestions from it:
I never thought fake crying when my kids call me a "poopy-eyeball-head" would create such intense delight and connection with them - their giggles and laughter are incredible and their behavior after their play tanks are filled up is markedly different. Normally I would get increasingly stern when the kids start using the word "poopy" at the dinner table but we've made it one of our most common games and it's just fun.
They beg for me to play chase after shooting me with the "Love Gun" and the idea of making behavior that normally annoys me into a game was mind-blowing.
One day in a car full of whining I just answered "Quack" to everyone who tried to talk and everyone, including my husband, was in stitches by the end of what would have normally been a kids-whining-parents-yelling-everyone-grump-ride.
I start to tell one of my three young boys, "Oh, young man, you better not do ____. You will be in BIG TROUBLE." ( ___ being the behavior the situation calls for....like getting shoes on to leave the house) and they giggle with glee when I make a huge goofy show of just how much trouble they are in for. It doesn't feel manipulative like I feared - it's just a big game for everyone doing the right thing and an overall win/win. My kids LOVE seeing their very serious mom play act or be goofy. Just love it. The bigger and more dramatic the better. One time our youngest sat still during dinner and, in playful shock, my husband pretended to run into a door frame and fell down flat on the floor - the entire table was doubled over in laughter. I'm getting the giggles just thinking about it.
This book is really powerful and just what I needed as a parent. I was constantly feeling guilt for not being respectful or doing enough with my kids - I was often snappy and irritated with their behavior (when they were just kids wanting to play) and realized my interactions with my daughter were increasingly more negative than positive and I didn't know what to do. I tried to tell myself "be respectful, give them what they need" but it wasn't helping and I have charts of failed behavior trackers and self inventories to show that I did put in effort (the tracking tells you how serious I am of a person ha). This playful parenting mindset not only helped me be more respectful and have a better attitude, but I feel it got me out of my thinking head and on my kids' level - they crave and need play and that's what that book has helped me to give them. I need to edit that - it got me back in touch with a playfulness that is needed in all of us, kids and adult. Most adults have it beat out of them though, I sure know I did. With a playful attitude it's easier for me to be respectful and loving and supportive. In fact, it just happens effortlessly. The first week I implemented the suggestions from the book was the first week I inventoried a huge change in my behavior that hadn't budged despite intense desire and flowchart plans and reading many parenting books - I could honestly say I felt I had respected my kids and given them what they needed fully that week when I was simply playful. Life changer. (That's not to say the prep work of reading many parenting books didn't play into it, but this book at the very least got me over the final hump.)
Finally, I like that while he gives a huge amount of suggestions to play, it's not a flowchart (which, believe me, has its place) and allows parents to tap into their own creativity. Once you see the patterns in the games I found it easy to come up with ideas and like I said, the playful attitude alone can make a huge difference in any situation even if there's not a specific game or goal.
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books Inc.; Reprint edition (15 April 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345442865
- ISBN-13: 978-0345442864
- Product Dimensions:: 14 x 1.8 x 20.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 259 g
- Customer reviews: 175 customer ratings
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: 26,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)