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on 7 March 2011
I LOVE this book.

I have read many many parenting books, mainly because my eldest daughter did not respond well to anything we put in place to steer her in the right direction. What an absolute nightmare we had with timeouts, poor her, what a waste of time, I really regret putting her though it (although it works fine in moderation for our second daughter). The challenges were huge.

Her mind is so active and fast moving it was almost impossible to be one step ahead until this book.

Our daughter is enormous fun and one of the very few (if not the only) book she responded well to was this one. It provides many excellent games and techniques for changing the mood. In our case it helped distract our children from misbehaving, or bothering others, or worse attacking siblings. Surprising to me was the way our daughter responded so well to roughplay. I hadn't thought I was affected by gender but I must have been, it hadn't occured to play empowering pushing and rough wrestling type games to reduce aggression, but it really helped. (Not much enjoyed by our younger daughter!).

It changed our family into a much happier one. I made notes as I read the book and came up with a list of ideas to quickly introduce to keep minds busy before things got out of hand.

We found this book essential for age 2-5 and will continue to use the games going forward. It changes your perspective as a parent for the better.
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on 15 May 2016
Arrived in good time and it is as described. Thank you.
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on 29 June 2013
We bought this as we kept getting 'stuck in ruts' with our toddler - you know, when they refuse to do something or keep doing something naughty and eventually, in spite of your best intentions you end up losing your temper? Well since reading this book we've had a lot less of that - it's been so useful. And so useful at understanding some of his behaviour - and how to deal with difficult situations (like when he'd been really scared by something). I might read it again once my son is older too as it deals with kids up until early teens.
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on 6 January 2013
I'm still reading this but am so impressed I felt compelled to write a review! My daughter is approaching her fifth birthday and is having some problems at school with shyness. I wish I had read this book years ago...it is so well written: encourageing and not at all condescending, and the author has something valuable to say on every page. Its not just about playing with your children, but encourageing self esteem and what he calls "connectedness" between you and your child and hence your child and the world outside the family home. I purchased this along with a couple of other books about confidence building in children and overcoming shyness, and I have no hesitation in saying that this will be the one I keep returning to again and again. Rather than giving you "exercises" to do (groan!) as in the other books, he gives you ideas which you can try out straight away. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, whether your child is having problems or not, you will both take away many positive things from "Playful Parenting".
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on 20 February 2016
I used this book as a bible when my son was smaller, it really was my go-to to regain some clarity on how I wanted to raise my son and what I wanted my parenting style to be. Now, as he is older, I do not come to it very often as most of it is orientated around techniques and skills for younger children.
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on 11 February 2014
Really worth reading, even if you are just starting out on your parenting journey as it shows a good approach to a conflict free household by just changing your own behaviour and reactions a bit. This doesn't mean that you will become a pushover, however it shows how making things fun and enjoyable, or playing games can turn often frustrating situations (like getting a child up and out of the door in time for school) more manageable and even fun.

Loses a star rating purely for being a bit American with the whole 'towers of isolation' thing, and going whaaaaaa and falling over all the time but overlook that or adapt that to how you feel comfortable and it's well worth reading. Best book like this I've even bought.
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on 10 February 2011
My daughter is only one, but already some of these techniques are proving useful in a myriad of ways. "Rough" play to get her confidence up, fun strategies to minimise protests during the dressing/nappy-changing/feeding routines, tactile play with lots of giggles making our family feel wonderfully bonded.
Play is the language of children, a language many of us adults need to be reminded of or relearn. It can make parenting so much more fun and help our children negotiate the ways of the world on their own terms.
Thoroughly recommended.
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on 16 May 2011
This book had me in stitches! I actually laughted out loud every page- Lawrence J.Cohen besides being a great writer and child psychologist is a seriously funny guy! As a teacher, I wish I had read this 10 years ago- it would have helped lighten up and connect with my pupils. As a mom, I can't wait to try his play ideas- they look like fun for kids and parents. Highly recommend this book- it should really be compulsory reading for teachers...it would take a lot of the stress out of their work!
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on 7 January 2011
This book is a great read with good examples for those who aren't ready to throw caution to the wind and get silly, maybe those parents who have forgotten how to play or don't think they should play with their kids. My boys love playing with my husband and I. I think this should be a mandatory read for all parents! Children learn through play and it helps you get in their world to teach them easily. Great for stressed out parents who feel stuck. I do believe it has helped me get even closer with my kids even though I didn't think it was possible.
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on 18 May 2008
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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