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Special Playtime: Time to Practice

Dad holding daughter upside-down

Playtime with your child is important. There are many times during the day when you have opportunities to play with your child. It is helpful to set aside a special time each day to spend with your child. Special playtime is a chance for you to focus on your child’s good behaviors and build a strong, nurturing relationship. It can be a fun way for you to learn how to communicate with your child. You can use the time to actively listen and practice praising, imitating, and describing your child’s behavior. The more you practice the skills, the easier it is to use them in everyday situations. You may feel silly using some of the skills at first, but the feeling will go away with time and practice. One of the benefits of practicing during playtime is that you will see how your attention affects your child’s behavior.

Toys and Activities for Special Playtime

  • Use toys or activities that encourage your child to be creative. Dress up and kitchen play allow your child to make up activities and games. Blocks, crayons, and paper are some toys and supplies that allow your child to use his imagination. If a toy moves and plays by itself, it is probably not a good idea to use it during special playtime.
  • Use toys and activities that are safe for your child’s age. Child scissors, plastic pots and pans, and large plastic blocks are good choices for young children. You may want to avoid toys with small detachable parts for very young children. Avoid activities that use items like knives, scissors, and heavy pots and pans that could harm your child.
  • Use toys and activities that are at the right skill level for your child. With young children, you may want to use larger blocks because they are easier for younger children to hold and put together.
  • Make sure you have enough toys so you can play with your child. For example, you might want to have two dolls or trucks for special playtime so that you can easily imitate your child’s behavior. The toys do not need to be expensive. Less expensive toy options include paper, crayons, empty boxes, empty or plastic food containers, and lightweight pots and pans.  

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