Learn to Play


Quality time with your kids – what does it mean? You get home after a busy day (this is a gender neutral statement): off-loading, exchanging daily burdens at the kitchen table, greeting the kids, (vice versa); checking the mail, then what …? May be before bedtime a small reading session with the kids. Before that most likely sitting on the coach to watch tele. It can’t be Sunday every day. Let us be real: Quality time is a created construct to sanctuary activity with your children, but actually it is a highly fabricated, almost unnatural creation: “sorry, you are out of quality time; beat it” .  Admitted, it is better than no time. In a lot of homes almost no intergenerational interaction above the level of directives occurs. Quality time at least gives some indication on the need for interaction. It is the nature of interaction that counts, not time per se.  Especially with young children interaction comes down to inter-activity, doing things together, like in play. For adults, parents as well, this is a difficult shift to make. They are not kids anymore. For some, play seems a regression, an ineptitude with which one feels uncomfortable. Parents’ beliefs about play interfere with a full engagement in play.

At least this was found in a US study validating an assessment instrument to gauge parental attitude toward play. It turned out that pointing to prevailing beliefs about interaction through play with your child affected the self-awareness of these parents and moderated a positive disposition towards play. Thus, supporting the study’s intent to construct and disseminate a belief measurement on parental attitudes about play.

“ My learning is playing, my playing is learning” , as the poet once proclaimed. Playing is serious business then? Playing in function of..? Is it for that reason that parents should interact  – because it is quality time? Playing together with an adult is different from playing by oneself, or with a peer. Comenius in his pedagogical tale “Labyrint of the World”  (2)  warns against putting too much wisdom into a child and defends the usefulness of time to experiment, to roam; that is to value play for reasons of its own, not in purpose of. There are so many ways in which parents can interact with children; do not take away play from the children.


Expanding home visiting outcomes: Collaborative measurement of parental play beliefs and examination of their association with parents’ involvement in toddler’s learning Patricia H. Manza, Catherine B. Bracaliello  in Early Childhood Research Quarterly 36 (2016) 157–167

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2015.12.015  0885-2006/© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved



  1. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/5-ways-to-spend-time-with-your-kids-when-you-have-no-time.html

2. http://www.labyrint.cz/en/contents



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