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Scheduling a Family Play Night is Good for Fitness, Fun and Camaraderie

Do you and your family schedule time to be together? Whether it’s dinner, activities, or events, it’s important to make these things part of your regular routine. This wouldn’t have been a novel idea years ago, but in today’s over-scheduled world, it’s unfortunately true that we have to pencil in time to spend with our families.

That’s why we’re encouraging families to dedicate one evening a week to Family Play Night. We want to see families get up and move together while getting reacquainted with each other and their back yards. Or the front yard, or the park, or wherever it is that you want to play.

“Play is a way for families to connect. Children connect and learn primarily through play,” says our resident mental health expert, Brooke Randolph, LMHC. “Play helps build healthy attachment and positive relationships. Families who play together will be healthier, happier, enjoy each other more, and work together more effectively.” She continues that “Play helps parents enjoy their children and communicate to children that they are valued beyond their behavior. Play helps everyone relax and recover from stressors.” And who couldn’t use a little lighthearted, calorie-burning stress relief? (Read more from Brooke in Healthy People Play.)

Just as research has shown that families who eat dinner together tend to be healthier and more connected, it’s true for families who play together, too. That quality time is vitally important to the development of the children, but it also creates a cohesiveness for the family unit. “Being playful is like investing; we get all the benefits back from it, including healthy benefits, relationship benefits and we have more fun,” says David R. Cross, PhD., the director of the Developmental Research Lab at TCU. “Laughter, make-believe, and rough-housing are not only fun, but fundamental,” he says. By playing together, you also show your children the importance of living an active lifestyle from an early age. You might be counting calories burned, but to the kids, it’s just the norm. It’s just fun!

Family Play Night doesn’t have to be expensive or a grand production, it just has to be time everyone looks forward to each week, where you play together and connect as a family. Give it 30 minutes, an hour, or play until the street lights come on, just make this time a priority when scheduling your week.

Click the slideshow to see our fun-filled ideas to help you schedule your first Family Play Night.

View Family Play Night Slideshow

Do you already participate in your own Family Play Night? If so, we’d love for you to comment below and share your ideas for keeping it interesting and fun!

April 26th, 2011

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