The Importance of Working at Family Play

This may sound like an oversimplification, but the family or marriage that isn’t healthy is the family or marriage that isn’t playing together. Playing together is an essential trait of happy, healthy families. Certainly our children need to do their chores, and of course they need discipline with consistency, but what they also need desperately from their parents is a rousing game of hide-and-seek or a monthly Ping-Pong tournament.

A great thing happens to families when they play together: They begin to talk and laugh and lighten up. Family memories are built, inside jokes are shared, and serious moments of intimacy are communicated. Families need special times together to build lifelong memories and to play together!

As most experts on the family will tell you, a family that plays together stays together. But I would add that a family that plays together will also be much more happy and healthy. For many families, play is the missing ingredient to glue the family together. Play opens closed spirits and heals broken families.

We know instinctively that play produces family togetherness and support. We know that when we play together, we have a deeper sense of belonging and community in the family. Parents must proactively work at making a sense of belonging and community one of their key goals for family togetherness.

Playing together as a family may open up the communication lines better than anything else you try, so now is the time to be proactive and create those family fun days and events that provide the catalyst for more effective communication. Do whatever it takes to keep the communication lines open, even if it means picking up a basketball or going to the park on a regular basis. Playing together and having a good time just may be the safety net you need to make a difference in your child’s life.

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Jim Burns

Jim Burns

Jim Burns is the President of HomeWord and the Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 30 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage and Closer. Jim and his wife, Cathy live Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca and Heidi.

  • About HomeWord

    HomeWord helps families succeed by creating Biblical resources that build strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. Founded by Jim Burns and supported by Doug Fields, HomeWord and Azusa Pacific University have partnered to form The HomeWord Center for Youth and Family. Learn More »

  • About Azusa Pacific University

    APU is a leading Christian college ranked as one of the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Located near Los Angeles in Southern California, APU is a Christian university offering associate’s, bachelor’s, master's, doctoral, and degree completion programs, both on campus and online. Learn More »

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