Blog

Why Play With the Kids? parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
12/21/2020 4:00:00 AM by: Becky Cerling Powers

When Karyn Henley and her husband play card games with their two teenage sons, the family often finds themselves in the middle of a lively conversation. “Suddenly someone says, ‘Whose turn is it?’” Henley said. Then the family realizes that they have been talking for ten minutes, and they’ve lost track of where they are in the game.

“Playing with children is important for parents,” Henley said, “because it helps make good communication possible.”

How play builds communication

“When I talk about play in my workshops for parents,” she said, “I emphasize that the first principle of communication is listening, and one of the catalysts for listening is play. Play becomes a format. While you’re playing it’s a prime time to listen to your child.”

Henley is the creator of many teaching resources, including a best seller, The Beginner’s Bible. She gives Child Sensitive Teaching seminars to parents and educators.

“When I talk about play that builds communication, I’m not talking about the parent having the idea and saying, ‘Let’s go play this,’” Henley explained. “Instead, it’s asking ‘What do you want to do?’ It’s joining in on the child’s play.”

“If a young child wants to crawl around on the floor and be a dog, you get down, too,” she said. “With older children, the play changes. Instead of getting down on the floor, you play badminton or shoot baskets. It’s still a format for communication.”

Play builds trust and relieves stress

“Playing also builds trust and strengthens relationships,” Henley said. “A bonding goes on when you’re doing something together, for work as well as play.”

“And play can actually be a great stress reliever for parents,” Henley said. “Once you get into the playing, it is very therapeutic. It has an unwinding effect. You leave your cares behind for a while."

“When your children are preschoolers and you’re running here and there, you feel this is going to last forever and all you want is a break,” she said. “But really the time goes so fast, that soon you’re looking back on it. And the chance (to build trust and communication with children) isn’t there.” So, play helps you enjoy your children during the short time you have them with you.

Play also helps establish a child’s sense of self-worth.

 “I’ll never forget a letter I read once from a woman whose husband works with troubled teens,” Henley said. “She said they all had been told in words or actions, ‘I don’t want you around.’”   

They all felt worthless, the letter said, and when children feel worthless, they act worthless.

This woman’s husband found out that there was one effective way to help these troubled teens, and that was spending time with them. That worked because saying and acting like you want to spend time with children gives them the message that they are worthwhile.

Some parents don’t know how to play       

Many parents feel inhibited about playing with their children because they were told not to play, that playing is childish and not for adults.

The first step for overcoming that inability to play is to realize that those messages are untrue, Henley said. “The first step is realizing that play is important and worth your time to do it.”

The next step, she said, is to make yourself available for play. “Just sit down with your child when she’s playing and observe. Young children have a way of drawing you into their play because it’s so natural to them. If you’re just sitting there, they’ll hand you a teacup and say, ‘I’ll pour you some tea,’ and include you in their little game.”

Let children teach you how to play while they are still young

Being honest about your discomfort also helps, Henley said. “Whatever your children’s age, you can ask for help. You can say, ‘My mom and dad told me play wasn’t good. They never played with me. I don’t know how to play.’”

“Most parents who feel uncomfortable with playing would be surprised what that (honesty) would do and how much their child would reach out and help them,” she said.

“It gets harder as children get older,” Henley said, “so it’s better to start when they’re young.”

Reprinted with permission from

Sticky Fingers, Sticky Minds: quick reads for helping kids thrive

©2020 by Becky Cerling Powers

Share This Blog:


Previous Posts

Reflections for Parents in April, Week Two: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
4/12/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Helping Kids with Math: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
4/5/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Reflections for Parents in April, Week One: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
4/1/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Trouble -- the doorway to God's Kingdom: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/25/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Honey Tree: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/23/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Watching for the Positives: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
3/21/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Give Your Children Sticky Minds: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
3/15/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Law of Kindness: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/12/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

Eyes in the Lookout: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/10/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Glen A Hinshaw

Focusing on the good stuff: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/5/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Joe Herman

The Grumble Family: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/3/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Anonymous

Being a Better Parent...One Week at a Time...in March
2/28/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Henry O. Flipper: a black history month story from the Story Powerline
2/24/2021 3:33:00 PM  by: Randy Limbird

Preparing to Raise Teens: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
2/18/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Neighbor Love: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/17/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

No Matter What, I Love You Every Day: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/14/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers and Robert G Cerling

Mental Maps: a faith based story on love from the Story Powerline
2/10/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Putting Myself in the Love Chapter: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/8/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Erik Powers

Reading to Babies: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
2/5/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Being a Better Parent....One Week at a Time...in February 2021
2/1/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Resolving the Past: a faith-based story from the Story Powerline
1/22/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Sharon Withers as told to Becky Cerling Powers

God Sets the Lonely in Families: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/21/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Sharon Withers as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Keep Trying: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/13/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

Hooray for Mother Goose! Parenting Insights from the Parent Powerline
1/5/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Being a Better Parent....One Week at a Time...in January 2021
1/2/2021 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Working With -- Not Against -- Life Seasons: parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
12/28/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Why Play With the Kids? parenting insights from the Parent Powerline
12/21/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Breaking Barriers with Kindness: a faith based Christmas story from the Story Powerline
12/10/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

Shoe Shine Boy: a faith based Christmas story from the Story Powerline
12/4/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Ruben Fierro as told to Maria Luisa Navarro

Slow Down for Christmas: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
12/1/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Ruth & Boaz, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/12/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Maria Luisa Navarro

Ruth & Boaz, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/9/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Maria Luisa Navarro

Enemies No More, Part 2: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/30/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Enemies No More, Part 1: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/28/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Double Minded Doggie: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/22/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Father's Blessing: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/13/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Dad's Green Packard: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/10/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Hill of Woman's Fidelity: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/1/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

In Praise of Naps: tips from the Parent Powerline
9/28/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Music Enriches the Family: tips from the Parent Powerline
9/10/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Pre-School at Home During Covid-19: tips from the Parent Powerline
8/21/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Parenting in the Mess: Tips from the Parent Powerline
8/16/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Way We Homeschooled, Part 1 Balance: from the Parent Powerline
8/4/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Grandpa Thure Cerling, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/4/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Grandpa Thure Cerling, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/4/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Temptation: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
7/23/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Glen A. Hinshaw

TALK: A Simple Way to Help Kids with School: tips from the Parent Powerline
7/21/2020 9:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Honest Abe Lincoln: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
7/14/2020 11:00:00 PM  by: Randy Limbird

The Most Conscientious Hunter I Ever Met: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/24/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Glen A. Hinshaw

Washing Feet: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/17/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers and Lee Merrill Byrd

No Parking: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/10/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Ruby Bridges, part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/3/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Ruby Bridges, part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/2/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Raising Fluent Readers: tips from the Parent Powerline
5/29/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Unwanted Baby: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/26/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Eileen as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Family Funnies: Tips from the Parent Powerline
5/22/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Joey's Letters: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/21/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Lee Merrill Byrd

Alzheimer Valley: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/13/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

New Bride Confusion: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/12/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Amaris Luz, Light from Darkness: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/28/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Lee Merrill Byrd

Losing Poetry: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/22/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Let Kids Cure Their Own Boredom: Tips from the Parent Powerline
4/15/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Naaman, Rich in Money and Presumption: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/14/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs and Becky Cerling Powers

David, Bathsheba & Psalm 51: a faith based story story from the Story Powerline
4/9/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

The Hundred Chart: math lesson tips from the Parent Powerline
4/8/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Beer Would Call Me: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/7/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Beatriz Balcort as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Turned Around: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/2/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Brian Bolton with Becky Cerling Powers

Toddlers Helping During COVID-19 and Beyond: tips from the Parent Powerline
4/1/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Elijah & the Captain of 50 Men: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/31/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

Fear in Residence: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/24/2020 10:00:00 PM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Household Management During COVID-19 Time: tips from the Parent Powerline
3/23/2020 10:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Dreaming of Anita Jo: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/12/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

No Complaint Dinners: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/10/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

DIY Plumbing: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/5/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Jennifer Cummings

A Brother's Love: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/3/2020 7:00:00 AM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

My Two Dads, part three: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/27/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers

My Two Dads, part two: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/26/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers

My Two Dads, part one: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/25/2020 7:00:00 AM  by: Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Grandma's Apron: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/20/2020 12:45:00 PM  by: Jennifer Cummings

Colors of the Beetle: a retold faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/13/2020 12:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Cantaloupe Crop Disaster: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/5/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Glen Hinshaw

Afraid to Sleep at Night (Psalm 91): a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/22/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

How the Camel Got His Hump: a retold faith based story
1/13/2020 10:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Growing Up With Polio: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/9/2020 10:01:00 PM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

All Things Bright and Beautiful: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/7/2020 6:20:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers, poem by Cecil Frances Alexander

One Dollar for a Donut: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/1/2020 6:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Star of Wonder
12/26/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

The Shepherds
12/24/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Mary and the Angel
12/18/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Zechariah
12/17/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Christmas Cookies: a a faith based story from the Story Powerline
12/10/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

First Thanksgiving, Part 2: Beginning in Weakness (a faith based story)
11/28/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Rami Scully

First Thanksgiving, Part 3: Gifts & Gratitude (a faith based story from the Story Powerline)
11/28/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Rami Scully

First Thanksgiving, Part 1: Enduring the Sea Voyage (a faith based story)
11/27/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Rami Scully

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 3: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/22/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Néaouguen Nodjimbadem as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/19/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Néaouguen Nodjimbadem

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/12/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Nodji (Néaouguen Nodjimbadem) as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Preventing Parent Burnout: from the Parent Powerline
11/4/2019 5:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Grandma Time: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/1/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Jennifer Cummings

Safe Amid Snakes and Semi-Trucks: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/30/2019 3:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Love & Diaper (Nappy) Connection
10/25/2019 6:30:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Avon Perfume Surprise: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/22/2019 7:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Saving Butterscotch: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/16/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Karen M. Pickett Ward

The Patient in Room 116: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/8/2019 9:10:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Belshazzar: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/2/2019 6:45:00 AM  by: Retold by Paula Kortkamp Combs

My Mysterious Relative & the Missing Paycheck: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
9/26/2019 3:17:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Keeping in Touch with Cousins: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
9/24/2019 3:20:00 PM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

How the Ostrich Got His Long Neck: a faith based retold story from the Story Powerline
9/9/2019 3:49:00 PM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

When Life Goes Up in Smoke: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/20/2019 3:28:00 PM  by: Glen A. Hinshaw