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Power of Parent-Child Play, The Review by Teri Lucas

By Laurie Winslow Sargent
Tyndale House Publishers
351 Executive Drive
Carol Stream, Il 60188

The Power of Parent-Child Play is highly recommended for all parents! As a homeschooling mother of two, one of whom is handicapped, I can honestly say that I just don't play with my children as much as I should. Oh, I teach them, feed them, clean them, read to them, and talk at them - but how much time do each of us spend really "relating" with the children? When the homeschooling is finished for the day, the meals are cooked, and the house is cleaned, there just isn't very much of me left to go around. Some days, if I am honest, there isn't anything at all left, let alone the energy to play! The Power of Parent-Child Play addresses this issue and so much more.

The book is divided into three main sections. The first section, "Play Benefits and Barriers," seeks to define play and educate the parent on its tangible benefits. In addition, the four barriers to play are discussed. With chapters like, "What gets in the way?," "Why Try?," and "Derailing Tantrums and Defiance," you know that this author can relate. She has been there, done that, as they say.

Section 2, "Identifying and Overcoming Struggles," includes chapters such as "Maybe Later, Dear," "But We're So Different," and "I Don't Feel Like Playing." Beneath the main dialogue there are loads of creative suggestions to include play in your day. For instance, one of the sub-topics here is titled, "Top off the Tank Periodically," which suggests that parents can expect their extroverted children to spend only small chunks of time alone. From that statement it goes on to provide you with ideas on spending several small bits of time throughout the day with this type of child and STILL get your housework done! This section also reviews some stages of growth and attitudes that affect play both in the child and in the parent.

The final section of Power of Parent-Child Play "Harnessing Your Resources" contains thoughts on nurturing our kids' self-reliance and helpfulness, getting the most from the "things" we have, and making memories. Because the author has previously worked as an occupational therapist, this is not a one size fits all work. There are plenty of suggestions and helps for everyone, including 5 minute fun activities at the end of every chapter. Special needs parents will find a renewed energy to make the extra effort that is sometimes required to keep the attention of our "differently-abled" children.

The Power of Parent-Child Play is an interesting and easy read. It is not in any way one of those new-age all fun and no discipline books. Instead, you may find the need to discipline your children greatly reduced as you learn creative ways to enjoy and have fun with each other! This is a very real and quite appropriate look at our relationships with our children. The Power of Parent-Child Play will teach you to value the connections that can be made through play. This is a book about taking the time for the things that matter most in life. After all is said and done, there is nothing that we can take to Heaven from this earth, except the relationships we build!

-- Product Review by: Teri Lucas, Staff Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine