If you’ve ever had kids or been around children, you’ll know just how playful they are. During their formative years, much time will be spent playing. As parents and caregivers, we should see to it that we keep ourselves involved during playtime when we can.
Allowing our children time on their own is essential to honing independence, but we need to balance this out with keeping a strong and nurturing connection to them. The PRIDE technique helps you with just that.
PRIDE is an acronym that guides parents and caregivers when interacting with children. Some parents may find that even as they play with their children, they’re not making the most out of their time spent together. The acronym stands for: praise, reflect, imitate, describe and enjoy. Let’s take a look at these skills one at a time.
This is likely something many parents are already familiar with. However, praise can sometimes be easy to forget to do so. Early childhood is when children begin to learn right from wrong. By praising good behavior, they’ll know that this is something that’s good and should be repeated. Likewise, try to ignore badaction if it’s minor. Pay more attention to praise positive behavior.
For example, when the child puts away their toys after playing with them, commend them for it. You can say something like, “good job keeping your playroom very neat.”
Some parents may tend to ignore the things that their children say, as they are often naive. This is not very nurturing or productive. When spending time with your kids, reflect on what they say and voice it out. This shows that you are listening and promotes communication. However, try to avoid giving questions. Let your child lead the way playtime goes.
Let me present an example. A young child comments that they see a man with a funny hat on. You can answer by responding “yes, that is a very silly hat!”
Imitation is the most excellent form of flattery. This also shows approval towards your child’s actions. You can do this together (cooperative play) or separately by mimicking what your child does (parallel play).
For example, you could play dress-up together. Likewise, you can share in other activities such as dancing or coloring together.
It may be tiring and, admittedly, sometimes annoying when children describe everything. Yes, we know the couch is dirty, the sky is blue and the dog is barking. However, we have to be patient and also do the describing ourselves. This helps build vocabulary in our children and models speech.
You can try by vocalizing what the child is doing. For example, describe as they draw. “You’re drawing a sun with sunglasses. Dogs are playing on the grass in a park.”
Here’s one thing that many parents may forget about at times: enjoyment. We all get caught up in worries and stress sometimes, that we forget to take a step back and enjoy time with our kids. Allow yourself to enjoy what your kids are doing and express it to them. This builds a warm and nurturing feeling between you and your children.
You can express this vocally. For example, “thank you for letting me color the elephant.” Likewise, you can also show enjoyment by smiling, hugging the child and staying close to them.