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Play to Teach Confidence and Social Skills

A wise man once said, "Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it." For most parents, those words ring true when it comes to parenting toddlers and preschoolers.

Let's start with Positive Discipline:

  • Playing is a great tool for teaching children positive behavior and social skills. Playing with your child is an excellent way to identify his or her needs and abilities, while helping you strengthen the parent-child bond. For instance, to teach your child to follow instructions without delay, play a game of Simon Says. You might try this: "Simon says touch your nose "Simon says pick up your red toy - Simon says put your toy in the toy box." When you finish, praise your child for listening and following instructions: "Great job of listening and doing what I asked right away!" This reinforces the behavior and makes your job easier the next time you have to tell him to stop pulling the dog's tail!

Play is also a time for building self-esteem. You can do this simply by allowing yourself to follow your child's lead. Don't criticize. Don't correct. Your child is the play expert. Just be there and participate.

Did you know? Toddlers view fellow toddlers as objects - objects that move and make noise, but objects nonetheless.