Wichita, KS -

It's a father's job to take care of his children- clothe them, feed them and make sure they're safe. But when you think about taking care of your kids, do you think about playing with them? Playing with your children, especially when they';re young, is vitally important to their development. Playing with your children teaches them social, physical and emotional skills.

Play is the language of children. When you try to understand their language, it brings you closer together. For babies and toddlers with limited or no language skills, playing allows them to express themselves. If your children are playing aggressively, that could be a sign that they are upset. A great way to play with your kids is participating in their imagination games. Play along with your children in their imaginary world, let them take the lead and create the rules. If you can, take your children to a park or other play place in your community. Allowing your kids to interact with other children plays a big part in their social development. For young children, this builds the foundation of sharing and friendship.

Playing with your children gives them exercise and helps with physical development. By kicking a ball around the yard or wrestling together, you can help strengthen their muscles while also building a stronger father/child relationship. There are plenty of ways to be active with your children, no matter how young or old they are.

While you are playing with your children, there are a couple things you should keep in mind:

Don't be competitive with your kids. Playing should be fun, and competition between parent and child can build resentment. If you're playing a game with rules, it's okay to let them change the rules midway through. Be patient with your kids, and give them time to experiment and make mistakes.

Playing with your children is important, both for development and relationship building. Show your kids you love them by taking the time to play with them every day, even if it's just for a few minutes.

For more information and ideas about playing with your kids, visit http://kansasstrongdads.com/connect-through-play/.

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