How Observing Children At Play Can Better Our Parenting

If you want an insight into how your child views you as a parent and want to find out where you could improve, a great way to learn is to sit and watch your child role playing with dolls, puppets or their pets. Don’t interrupt their play, simply watch and listen.

Do you hear:

“Oh, That’s it, I’ve had enough!”

“Stop it right now, you are so naughty!”

“I’m only going to tell you one more time!”

“You have ruined this for everyone!”

(These are things I observed a child saying to her doll recently.)

Perhaps the child is not repeating your exact words, but you will get the gist of how they view you as a parent, and what they are learning about how to treat children.


Do they hug the doll, do they use a soft tone of voice? Is their overall approach gentle, loving and filled with nurturing touch? If so, great! Your child is learning the skills from you to become a caring and empathetic parent. They are feeling loved and respected and can pour that outward in their own interactions.

But what if their touch is rough, their words controlling and harsh? This is not a time for you to correct their play, instead look at your own words, your own actions and endeavor to make them kinder, gentler and more understanding.

Continue to observe these times of role play and note how the game changes over time. Perhaps instead of the angry controller, your child takes on the role of the loving accomplice. The most important thing to remember is that it is ingrained in every child’s nature to imitate their own parents, so lets give them something worth copying!

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