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Playful Parenting

Playful Parenting [Kindle Edition]

Lawrence J. Cohen
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product 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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
80 of 80 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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13 of 13 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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128 of 135 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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and reassuring 29 Oct 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the 2nd time I've read this book and, once more, I am re-energised, reassured and inspired! My daughter is 2, most of the examples are about parenting older children but even when she was 1 I found ways to apply the wisdom and techniques described to help make myself a better parent and to make our lives together work better. I can't recommend this book enough. I read it a bit and then digest that bit over a few days and try some of the suggestions. Every time that I read some I am inspired again. Every time I feel like I am stuck or I don't understand my daughter's frustrations or things are not working well, I pick up this book and it always helps.

My one frustration is that the cover makes it look like it will only be useful to the parents of older children so I find it hard to get other parents of little ones to read it, plus 'playful parenting' doesn't sound essential, whereas the results have been lifechanging for me already. This is a fantastic book, to spend a few minutes on or as to read as a novel, if you're interested in another take on play and parenting you should try it!
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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great, great book 18 May 2008
By A J
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I totally agree with the other positive reviews: it's a great book and I cannot recommend it enough to all parents, carers or even people in general, because the emphasis on connection and playfulness is important in any type of relationship - though of course the subject here is parenting. I've seen books about parenting which use some spiritual vocabulary such as inner light and soul, which rather puts me off. This one does have one or two metaphors (e.g. it talks about the tower of powerlessness) but they do make sense and help bring the point across. There's a lot of good stuff here (e.g. practical suggestions on how to deal in certain situations) but for me the most valuable chapters were those towards the end which deal with the issue of discipline. The author put in words the feelings I've always had about punishment. He sees most 'misbehaviour' as just a matter of disconnection. It makes perfect sense that rather than using punishment to deal with it - which will in fact deepen the disconnection - we should rather try to re-establish the connection. One of the ways of connecting with our kids is playfulness and so Cohen strongly encourages us to engage with our kids in a playful way as much as possible and use our sense of humour in our daily encounters with them. Using his words: "You will do a much better job of teaching your values and getting cooperation with your rules by being playful than by being stern".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
each case study supports one theory. not convinced.
Published 1 day ago by Xiaomin Xuan
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful book
I've never felt the need to write a review before, but this book is so amazing and achieves such immediate results that I felt I had to. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Syb
5.0 out of 5 stars loved this book
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It gives different ideas on how to deal with your kids by playing with them.
Published 21 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars useful insights
This book has some very good insight into how children communicate through play. The author makes good points about how important it is to be involved in your child's playtime and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pud
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book
Published 1 month ago by jm aslett
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much to it
Once you get the basic message of its good to play with your child (on the first page) the rest of the book just repeats it. Over and over again.
Published 1 month ago by Rachelle
5.0 out of 5 stars What a difference this book has made
Not even half way through the book yet and found it has been a real eye opener and instantly transformed my view of parenting and the power of play. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Donna Verlaque
5.0 out of 5 stars Playful Parenting.
Have only read a couple of pages but what I have read, I like. an easy reader too. hope to finsih it soon and try its methods
Published 3 months ago by Rosalind Spencer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic help for parents
As a parent of 3 sons and a grandparent of 4 grandsons and one granddaughter, this book is so good in giving tips on the complex task of managing young children's behaviour. Read more
Published 3 months ago by tractorvivienne
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Reccommended
This is one of the best parenting books I have come across. Following this, I have started playing with my kids regularly and we all enjoy the rough play. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sas
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Popular Highlights

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When we constantly tell children what they should or shouldn't do, they have no room to think for themselves and are forced to choose between resentful obedience or defiant rebellion. Playfulness helps them think for themselves, even about serious topics. &quote;
Highlighted by 142 Kindle users
It works best when the adult provides the insistence on connecting, but the child actually sets the terms of how the two are going to connect. &quote;
Highlighted by 129 Kindle users
Children need our approval and enthusiasm first, before they can get out of a rut. So even if the goal is to have him stop that violent play, the only effective way is to play it with him for a while, which gives him the elbow room to try out new ideas and new ways of dealing with his aggressive impulses. &quote;
Highlighted by 114 Kindle users

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