“Playing with your child for five minutes today, in a way that gets them laughing, is probably the best way you can spend five minutes with your child.”
This advice comes from Dr. Laura Markham, clinical psychologist and founder of Aha! Parenting. As a parenting coach, she suggests making daily tasks more fun for kids and doing them in a way that helps families build stronger relationships. As she write in one recent article:
“…children need to play. It’s their work. All mammals play; it’s their way of learning skills they’ll need when they’re full-grown, from finding food to getting along with others. Play releases tension and helps children work through the big emotions that arise as they tackle new challenges.”
The piece goes on to outline different games parents can play with young children when they’re struggling with different daily issues, from whining to fighting with siblings, even cheating at games or stealing!
At Bedtime Board Game, we love Dr. Markham’s (science-backed!) approach. Game founders Michael and Kelly discovered nearly 20 years ago that their young son would fight getting ready for bed if they asked/argued/pleaded/punished him, but he completed his bedtime tasks willingly when they built a game around it. Bedtime Board Game helped them create “a more peaceful home with happy, responsible, considerate kids,” to borrow the motto Dr. Markham features on her Aha! homepage.
The game has perks beyond just accomplishing bedtime tasks. Founders discovered their son was highly motivated to earn the rewards of shiny, colorful gems, and when they debuted the game at Denver’s Family Fest, they learned kids’ love of “treasure” was universal. And the game’s Cloud Card Stops with short conversation prompts help deepen family connections through play. That’s an element we see over and over again in Dr. Markham’s advice.
As she persuasively puts it: “What if I gave you permission to set a timer and forget about your To-Do list and just connect with your child for five minutes? What if I promised that if you do this on a regular basis, your child will become more cooperative, and you will feel more energized? What if five minutes of play every evening helped you become a happier parent? Can you think of a better way to spend five minutes?”