Making Children Confident Through Child Lead Play

One of my favourite things to teach parents is about child lead play. There is something quite magical about seeing the world through a child’s eyes. Sadly, we often stop playing as we get older, but having a child often reminds us that life is meant to be enjoyable and fun.

I often see parents buying children expensive toys, or passing them the iPad, or switching on the TV.  The best toy for your children is you the parent. It can sometimes feel intimidating playing with your child, so I wanted to give you a really, simple plan that anyone can follow.

Child lead play is simply about following your child’s lead. This is particularly powerful because it boosts your child’s self-esteem and confidence.  I recommend trying this type of play every day, for at least 10 minutes. It’s a great thing to have as part of a routine and works particularly well when children are starting to test boundaries, otherwise day to day life can become a bit of a battle.

These steps are aimed at under 1 yr olds, but can be adapted to any aged child:

  • Spread out a few toys on a mat and get down to your child’s level e.g., sit on the floor.
  • Observe your child and let them choose a toy. Watch how they choose to play with it.
  • Join in; try not to be overbearing, follow their pace.
  • Once finished make sure you close the play. Just getting up and walking away can leave the child feeling really confused and sometimes anxious.

As previously mentioned this is a super simple plan and is not meant to patronise you as a parent.  Many parents subconsciously take over when playing with their child, or become quite direct which is acceptable when doing different types of play. However, child lead play really builds on their relationship with you and then in turn their relationship with others.