Play Nice Day – Teaching Kids to Play Nice
Have little ones of all ages can make playtime challenging some days.
Riley, at age 3, always wants to play with Julia and Nate. Bless their hearts, they always accommodate him, but there are times that they need their own play time, too. It can be a challenge to help encourage great play behavior in your kids. I've had a few strategies work well for me and want to share them with you!
Be Available For Play Yourself
When Riley asks me to play with him, I try to say yes. This helps me keep perspective on how Julia and Nate feel when they allow themselves to be interrupted for playtime.
Create Opportunities for Age-Appropriate Activities
If Julia and Nate are working on homework or a project, I make up some homework for Riley. I put out a sheet of paper and his colors and ask him to draw me certain things. I might ask him to draw me a boats in every color. This makes him feel like he is a big kid, too, doing homework just like his big brother and sister.
Be Sure to Encourage and Reward Positive Behavior
When I see Nate play a game, but modify the rules so that Riley can play, I sing his praises. He might be playing outside with his friends and they include Riley in building a fort or hiding from imaginary enemies. This is my cue to take out some lemonade or a frozen treat and thank them all for being thoughtful.
Teach Kids to Receive AND Give
When Riley has friends come over that are younger than he is, I remind him how Nate is bigger but played so nicely with him. I tell him that it is his turn to play something soft and gentle. When they are this little (4 and under), another parent or I usually supervise the play the entire time, especially if it is their first play date together. We remind them of rules and expectations and we tell them when they are playing well together, we tell them what a great job they are doing.
What are your tips for teaching your little ones to play nice?