Connection Through Play

Connection Through Play

Before you exit from this blog post with the fear that I am going to add another thing to your to do list – fear not! I know the huge mental load you are already carrying mama. The work that is often unseen, the never-ending to-do list, holding the emotions of our children (and sometimes our partner too), the constant planning, strategizing and scheduling to meet what often feel like relentless demands – all while often forgetting to consider our own needs. I also do not want to add to the guilt that you probably already feel so deeply. So firstly I just want to take a moment to say that you are enough.

I wish there was a way to wave a magic wand and provide a solution to reduce all of the ‘things’ and allow us as parents to simply be present with our children. I don’t have a magic wand (yet ;) ) but I do have a couple of tips that you can foster connection with your children, even though you are tired and your days are full.

Why is Connection Important?

Time spent being present with our child helps to fill their cup. When we follow the lead of our child in play, we are giving them a sacred space to express and release any emotions they may need to. For example, if you're child has been experiencing conflict with a sibling, you may see them act this out in play.

Allocating time to being present with our children, sends them the message they matter and we want to spend time with them. In filling their cup, we also increases the likelihood they will be more cooperative, play independently and reduce the incidence of unfavourable behaviours that are more often an unmet need for connection.


Consider setting a timer for as little as five minutes. It can be wise to do so at the time of the day where you know you have the most emotional energy – for me this is in the morning. Explain to your child that in that five minutes, they can choose what you play or do (within the realms of physical and emotional safety of course). With babies this could look like connecting by talking or singing to them. If you have difficulty remaining present and your mind starts to think about the washing that needs to be done, simply bring your mind back to the present without self-judgement. Over time and with practice this act alone will support the development of new neural conenctions, making presence of mind much easier.

Of course if you can commit to longer than five minutes, absolutely do it. I suggest building up the length of time over a few weeks but starting with as little as five minutes is realistic for almost everyone.


This tip requires changing very little to your existing routine but can often still require us to lean into the gentle mindfulness strategy of returning our wandering minds to the present when we observe them thinking about that washing again. During tasks such as bathtime, eating dinner, helping your child get dressed or brush their teeth, give yourself permission to be present and avoid multi-tasking. Connect with your inner playfulness and turn such times into fun or with older children it is an opportunity to follow their conversational lead.

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