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Playful Parenting [Paperback]

Lawrence J. Cohen
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
RRP: £11.99
Price: £9.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

20 Nov 2012

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.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (20 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345442865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345442864
  • Product Dimensions: 20.7 x 14.1 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Think about the loving gaze of an infant, the no-holds-barred embrace of a toddler, the intimacy of a shared bedtime story, or a silent hand-in-hand walk. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
85 of 85 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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16 of 16 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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9 of 9 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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129 of 136 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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64 of 69 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant Book, MUST READ
Published 15 days ago by Ash More
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book, I must remember to read it very often to remind me to remain playful!!
Published 1 month ago by catw1978
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
each case study supports one theory. not convinced.
Published 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 3 months ago by Pud
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book
Published 3 months 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 3 months 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 4 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 5 months ago by Rosalind Spencer
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