Unfortunately, there are very many conflicting answers to this question. There are even studies out there that try to claim that spending quality time playing with children does not benefit children until they are teenagers. But please answer this question for yourself, how realistic is it to expect your teenager to welcome your attempts at cultivating them through play when you never really spent any quality time playing with them when they were younger? I am not saying it is impossible to gain the trust of such teenagers, but it will definitely be a lot more difficult. Also, by the teenage years, a lot of damage might have been done by the lack of bonding which should have been started much earlier in the child’s life. The same researchers who try to claim that spending time with young children is not important to agree that teenagers who spent more time doing things with their parents (like even just sharing mealtimes) are less likely to engage in delinquent behaviors, like taking drugs and alcohol. They also agree that such teenagers do better in some subjects in school. My purpose here is not to prescribe how much time you should spend playing with your child. Instead, I believe that it is the quality of the time that you spend playing with them that matters. As I noted in the previous post on playing with your children, most parents have enough on their hands trying to provide for the family. I respect this very deeply and will hate to add unnecessarily to that burden of trying to provide adequately for your children. It is also unrealistic to say that you should make out one hour or 30 minutes every day to play with your children no matter what. I believe that if you are tired, frustrated, or anxious after a hard day at work, it’s unfair to expect you to spend an hour pretending to be happy and enjoy playing with your children. Again, I know from experience that playing with children (especially toddlers and preteenagers) can be exhausting. They have so much energy and never want playtime to end!
However, even if all you can manage is 10 to 15 minutes at a time, plan what you want to do with them ahead and be consistent. The rewards of making time to play with your children far outweigh the effort that you put into it. In addition to the advantages that I mentioned in the last post, playing with them enhances their curiosity, builds their confidence in themselves and in you as their parents, and helps to develop positive memories of their childhood.
Playing with your children also helps in other ways like helping you to relieve stress while demonstrating to your child how to manage toxic stress and develop socially and emotionally. The play also helps them develop emotional intelligence, these are all qualities that will help them thrive in school and later in life. This is why good schools also incorporate active guided playtime into their curriculum. Unlike the passive learning classroom, children who are taught through play, are more curious. They are focused and more attentive because they are excited. It is therefore easier to engage them in the learning process because they are enjoying what they are doing.

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