Play has an important role at every stage of life and in all relationships. Research has shown that play enhances family cohesion, marital stability and overall family satisfaction (Mactavish and Schleien, 2000). When families play together they create a place for emotional closeness where members of the family have the opportunity to share personal feelings, display affection, and not be dismissed or judged harshly but accepted for who they are. Time spent in play creates a space for communication between family members. It allows for the opportunity for parents to practice, role model and encourage team building to assist with developing prosocial behaviors that will not only be valuable for the children, but will be valuable for them when they are required to participate in group settings.
And let us not forget the stress relieving benefits of play that come with letting go of the responsibilities and/or heavy circumstances that are weighing us down. It is easy to get swept away with the things family life requires to sustain family living such as work, school, sports, household chores, doctor visits etc… Play can bring in a healthy coping model for all family members.
Play activities don’t have to be extravagant. The list of ideas for play are endless; however, getting started can be difficult if play has not been a part of your family life. Here is a link to a website that provides ideas for family play http://lds.about.com/od/familynight/a/101-Family-Home-Evening-Activities.htm
Mactavish, J. B., & Schleien, S. J. (2000). Exploring family recreation activities in families that include children with developmental disabilities. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 34(2), 132. Retrieved from http://library.hiu.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/218648264?accountid=41006
For more information regarding this blog or Apple Tree Family Counseling, Div, please contact Kathleen Shanahan, MA, Registered Associate MFT #AMFT87529 at 714-699-3367 or 714-826-4957