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Playful Parenting [Kindle Edition]

Lawrence J. Cohen
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £11.99
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Book Description

Parents have heard that play is a child's work--but play is not for kids only. As psychologist Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D., demonstrates in this delightful new book, play can be the basis for an innovative and rewarding approach to parenting. From eliciting a giggle during baby's first game of peek-a-boo to cracking jokes with a teenager while hanging out at the mall, Playful Parenting is a complete guide to using play to raise strong, confident children.

Have you ever stepped back to watch what really goes on when your children play? As Dr. Cohen points out, play is children's complex and fluid way of exploring the world, communicating hard-to-express 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. We help them express and understand deep emotions, foster connection, aid the process of emotional healing--and have a great time ourselves while we're at it.

Anyone can be a playful parent--all it takes is a sense of adventure and a willingness to let down your guard and try something new. After identifying why it can be hard for adults to play, Dr. Cohen discusses how to get down on the floor and join children on their own terms. He covers games, activities, and playful interactions that parents can enjoy with children of all ages, whether it's gazing deep into a baby's eyes, playing chase with a toddler, fantasy play with a grade schooler, or reducing a totally cool teenager to helpless laughter.

Playful Parenting also includes illuminating chapters on how to use play to build a child's confidence and self-esteem, how to play through sibling rivalry, and how play can become a part of loving discipline. Written with love and humor, brimming with good advice and revealing anecdotes, and grounded in the latest research, Playful Parenting will make you laugh even as it makes you wise in the ways of being a happy, effective, enthusiastic parent.

From the Hardcover edition.

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More About the Author

Lawrence J. Cohen, PhD, is a US licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and consultant. His book, Playful Parenting, was the winner of the NAPPA GOLD AWARD for parenting resources, and has been translated into several languages--look for the Polish, Czech, and Korean translations coming soon. Playful Parenting is also available as an audiobook. Larry is also the co-author of two books about children's friendships, popularity, and social cruelty. His newest book, The Art of Roughhousing, to be published by Quirk Books, is co-written with Anthony DeBenedet, MD. The Art of Roughhousing is available for pre-order now, and will hit the Amazon warehouse on May 17, 2011. In addition to his private practice of psychotherapy and play therapy, Larry is a frequent speaker at schools and community groups, and he serves on the advisory boards of Playskool Toys and of the Blue School in New York City. He lives in Brookline, MA, USA. Learn more at or

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
106 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing parenting book 31 July 2010
I cannot recommend this book enough. It has totally transformed my approach to parenting my two little boys. I bought the book because I was feeling frustrated with my 3 year old sons constant requests to "plaaaaaaaaaaaaaay". To be honest, I was finding his games a little boring and repetitive and we were really stuck in a rut. I also secretly resented his requests thinking that surely he should be able to play more independently by now. So, I sought guidance from this book. I was hooked from the very first page. The book really helped me realise that children connect with us through their play. They use play to understand difficult emotions, to build confidence and to develop a sense of themselves. Laurence Cohen provides ideas for lots of wonderful playful approaches to situations that I would have previously resorted to threats and the dreaded "naughty chair". We never use the naughty chair any more and our house if full of fun and laughter. My husband and I feel like we can really indulge in play and we are almost having a second childhood. We knew that we were seriously on the wrong track with our kids before. Our unrealistic expectations for perfect behaviour, regular tellings off and trips to the naughty chair were making our son angry and resentful. We knew that we were spoiling our children's childhood and missing out on the most wonderful time of our lives. We feared that they would grow up to resent us for the parenting approach that we were using. Thankfully, this book has really turned us around and we look forward to a long happy relationship with our two boys.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Practical Parenting Advice 26 Feb. 2011
A good book. Gives advice on how to help your child develop through play. You can help them (and yourself) learn to deal healthily with the whole range of emotions your child experiences. It opened my eyes to my own preconceptions.

An example of its practicality - my son hates having his face and hands wiped after meals. Following the advice in the book I gave him the cloth and asked him to wipe my face. I squealed and pulled faces - he loved it, then let me wash his face with no problems. He could see that I hated it too but that I was happy with the result. He had some control and power where he had felt out of control and powerless before. Mealtimes now end far more pleassantly than before.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great find! 13 Nov. 2014
A very good read; and I'm glad I discovered this surprising and satisfying book. The chapter Accept Strong Feelings (theirs and yours) was used on the very first meeting of our parenting group and we all loved it. We found it has some valuable advice on handling expressions of anger, fear, anxiety, etc. I particularly enjoyed the use of anecdotes, including the one in which Lawrence Cohen allowed his 3-year-old niece to express her strong feeling of upset. Another great chapter - one I keep going back to - is Recharging Your Own Batteries; it's full of very down-to-earth and sensible advice. A great parenting book alongside Daniel Siegel's Parenting from the Inside Out, Mirabelle Maslin's Infants and Children: An introduction to Emotional Development and any Jesper Juul book!
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135 of 144 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Your child defies you. What do you do? I'm tempted to crack down on the kid. This book shows how to turn the confrontation into connection while still setting limits. The author, Lawrence Cohen, restores joy to parenting--playing with your child becomes healing and nurturing for both of you. Cohen provides specific examples of play you can use in the whole range of difficult encounters with children. Especially valuable are his explanations of the fear and anger that underlie particular types of defiant statements by children, and his examples of play that can defuse the anger and ameliorate the fear. This book even speaks--implicitly--to adults' fears and anger, explaining how to get over old emotions. If I had to choose one book to give to a new parent, this would be the one--although I'd also be tempted to provide "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby." But the Cohen book will, in the long run, provide more help and provide it over the child's entire time at home. A word about its readability: Five-star. It is amazing that this author can write so clearly and in such an entertaining way, and at the same time provide a crucial new way to connect with a child. The book is a revelation and a delight.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is an absolute must have. 7 Nov. 2011
By Gins
I have read so many parenting books, simply to learn more about my children and how to make sure they are happy and well adjusted. A lot of them are rubbish to be honest. However, this book makes so much sense. I have adopted a few of the play ideas suggested and my lovely 4 year old son has twice today thrown his arms around me for no reason! As a parent, you tend to question whether your way of doing things is right. You also question whether you are inadvertently damaging your children or spoiling them etc. The way this book is written is very comforting. It reminds you that you are quite normal! For example, it reminds you that it's normal to feel angry at your children when they are playing up but also nudges you to consider why they are playing up. Because it is written by a psychologist, it provides amazing insights into a child's behaviour. I always thought that having too much 'of a laugh' with your children etc was setting the wrong boundaries. However, yesterday afternoon, the whole family got into bed and watched a film and my 4 year old has been so wonderful ever since. He keeps throwing his arms around me! I have been making a joke about his whining too. If he starts, I crumple into heap and do it myself. He ends up laughing and the situation is diffused. Some people seem to know all this naturally but I didn't. That's why this book meant so much to me!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book
Published 5 days ago by meera vaghela
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
This book is making me a better parent. Many thanks :o)
Published 8 days ago by Mrs. R. Blumstein
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
some helpful tips
Published 1 month ago by Lisa B
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you (I think I get the point...
I loved this book so much because when I started 'applying the theory' in 'practice' ( I mean 'playing' with my child in a meaningful way author describes) I not only saw the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Galina
5.0 out of 5 stars what an amazing book
This is book is jammed full if inspiration on how, and why, to connect effectively with children. I am so thankful for it.
Published 2 months ago by Beth
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Makes so much sense when you read this. Anecdotal, so can be picked up and put down when you have a few minutes. Read more
Published 4 months ago by MissSmith
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
did not find it as useful as expected
Published 4 months ago by Westfield
5.0 out of 5 stars I find it very easy to forget how much humour can play a part ...
very informative book. I find it very easy to forget how much humour can play a part in diffusing those all too difficult tantrums. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jay M
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fabulous! Every parent should read this.
Published 5 months ago by creations
5.0 out of 5 stars don't dismiss just because you think you know how to play
I nearly did, but I'm so glad I read this book. It really helped me Get a deeper understanding of the value of play and how it helps kids process fears and difficult experiences in... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
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