Playful Parenting

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Amazon Price: $17.00 $16.00 You save: $1.00 (6%). (as of December 15, 2018 10:49 pm – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Have you ever stepped back to watch what really goes on when your children play? As psychologist Lawrence J. Cohen points out, play is children’s way of exploring the world, communicating deep feelings, getting close to those they care about, working through stressful situations, and simply blowing off steam. That’s why “playful parenting” is so important and so successful in building strong, close bonds between parents and children. Through play we join our kids in their world–and help them to

• Express and understand complex emotions
• Break through shyness, anger, and fear
• Empower themselves and respect diversity
• Play their way through sibling rivalry
• Cooperate without power struggles

From eliciting a giggle during baby’s first game of peekaboo to cracking jokes with a teenager while hanging out at the mall, Playful Parenting is a complete guide to using play to raise confident children. Written with love and humor, brimming with good advice and revealing anecdotes, and grounded in the latest research, this book will make you laugh even as it makes you wise in the ways of being an effective, enthusiastic parent.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (April 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345442865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345442864
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces

Customer Reviews

I finally managed to restore the beautiful relationship with my son

 on April 9, 2016
By Bill Stan
This book was a revelation for me. It has immensely improved my relationship with my son and probably saved us resentment and miscommunication.

Life Changer For My Parenting and Attitude

 on January 9, 2018
By Chris10
This book is wonderful! The mindset of playful parenting has brought such joy not only to my kids and family but to ME as well.

A fun and effective way to look at childcare

 on February 17, 2013
By Trixie
This book is great, and points out the emotional and psychological necessity of play to children. Written by a play therapist and father, he has a good understanding of the benefits. This book shows how play can benefit and help both troubled and traumatized children, and healthy children dealing with daily stresses.

A great tool to have in your belt

 on April 9, 2013
By Bob Heddle
The best endorsement I can give to this book is to simply relate a story that my wife told me.

Turn that frown upside down

 on July 24, 2015
By butteredsunshine
This is my go-to book for my twin 5 year old boys! I love how the Dr. Cohen explains that children learn through play. When they are young, children’s brains haven’t developed the ability to react intellectually in most situations, nor do they see the reasoning behind most consequences (when I was put in “time out” as a child the only thing I realized was that my parents were mean!”. It’s our responsibility as parents to help our children navigate through their emotions and learn to connect physically, socially and intellectually with the world in a positive way. Since children are still developing their intellectual reasoning, we must teach them in a way they can understand–through PLAY! Nearly any situation of emotional distress, tantrum, or outburst can be turned into a positive situation through play–where the child learns a limit and how to move past the emotions that are causing the unwanted reaction and WHAT they SHOULD be doing. Play breaks down barriers and builds relationships, even with the most stubborn or “grown up” children. My personal experience is that this book is a god send!


 on March 14, 2012
By Mary Lee
This book is exactly what I was hoping it would be and even more besides. It’s an easy read, there’s not too much child psych lingo, and it’s entertaining.

Great ideas.

 on December 30, 2013
By The Steadfast Reader
Overall I really liked this book. It gives some incredible tips on becoming more engaged with our children and how play is the language that our children use to express and deal with big and small hurts, disappointments, and trauma. It’s definitely an extremely kid-centric theory of parenting. Much of the advice that Cohen gives is actually quite intuitive when you stop to think about it.

From a dad to his daughter

 on December 20, 2014
By pamoon
I have bought this book as a Christmas gift to my daughter and her husband because they have just become parents. I considered myself to be a very playful dad and want to encourage them to do so too. I very much liked a radio interview I heard on National Public Radio discussing the book with the author. You can hear the delightful podcast of that interview at NPR’s website and searching for “what-kids-can-learn-from-a-water-balloon-fight”

Terrific..a valuable parenting resource!

 on December 10, 2007
By Donna Ross
I got more out of this book than I thought I would. I was expecting some hints on playing with small children. But the idea of play as a form of therapy had never crossed my mind. But I am delighted that it did. My son is nearly 5 and suffers with social phobia and selective mutism. With that in mind I jumped ahead to the chapter on ‘Encourage their confidence’ and discovered the “Poopyhead game”. What a fabulously fun way to give a child a bit of power in such a safe way. I tried it with two 5 yr olds. One quiet and shy, the other boisterous and confident. They got to break a funny rule and laugh at me. They felt was obvious. These kids got that from a completely non physical game. I went from there to the chapter on ‘Learn to roughhouse’. My husband plays it with our son, but I wanted some ideas on it for me as this is said to be a wonderful confidence game for shy kids. Well I got a few rules to help create a safe environment and an insight into the emotions attached to the game – playfullness, confidence, determination and power to name but a few, and how I might bring those out. Add to that the connections based on love and trust and it’s a winning conbination. I then flicked ahead to the chapter on discipline. I certainly expected (and got) a non smacking approach..but was different, and it worked! I’m used to using ‘time-out’ with varied success. My son reacts to that just how the author writes it. Word for word. So I gave this new approach a try. Success. The idea of instilling good judgement with clear limits from a young age is empowering to kids and builds confidence. It also lends itself very easily to prevention rather than cure. I’ve had the book for about one week. I’ve tried a few new approaches to parenting from the book, and for my son it has switched on the power within. This socially phobic child has attended a pre-school Christmas party (approx 60 people), a visit to a friends house (10 poeple)and sat alone on Santa’s knee for a chat and photo for the first time. He did all this with an enthusiasm and confidence unseen in him. I am bursting with pride at his achievements of the last week and our household is much happier and calmer for it. I’ve still got much more reading to do and am loving the new stratedgies to manage time old parenting issues. My only criticism is that the reading can be a bit heavy going at times. For a book about play, it’s not what I would call a light read. But really, it’s certainly worth persisting to find the gems within, and I’m looking forward to it.

easy ways to solve behavior problems and to get connected

 on December 30, 2001
By ChristineMM
This book is excellent, so much more than what I had expected. A must-read for all parents.