UK parents are suffering a crisis of confidence when it comes to playing with their children, a recent survey suggests. The Evening Telegraph decided to find out if this is true for parents in our area.
According to the survey carried out by drinks brand Ribena, almost half of 2,000 parents questioned said they would welcome expert help on how to play.
Some 13 per cent felt anxious about play, while 17 per cent admitted buying toys and video games for their children to take the pressure off themselves.
The figures also showed that 59 per cent of fathers and 42 per cent of mothers were so busy that they had fewer than five hours a week to play with their children.
Sherri Reynolds, of Corby, said: “I am a big kid at heart and love playing with my two girls.
“My eldest isn’t keen on playing, she enjoys pamper nights with nail varnish and face masks which I think is fine for an eight-year-old.
“We also had a cinema night were we made tickets and posters for our in-house cinema night with popcorn and all the extras.
“I even showed my partner and daughter to their chairs by torchlight, simple things like this are also cheap to do.
“With my two-year-old I’m just like a big kid myself, I dance, act silly, crawl around on all fours chasing her, it’s easy to play with your children and it doesn’t cost anything.
“Those who aren’t confident, really there’s nothing to be afraid of, your children will appreciate the time and effort you put in with them no matter what you do with them.”
Simon Kensington-Fellows, of Lowick, said: “Lego has to be one of the best toys for playing together.
“My five-year-old and I play for hours, either following the instructions that came with a set or simply making up a theme for example, ‘Today we’ll be making castles or dinosaurs.’
“The great thing about Lego is that you don’t have to be any good at it, a good imagination helps when your child proudly shows off their ‘T-Rex’.
“There are so many Lego sets available now there is something for boys and girls of all ages and looking through eBay or Freecycle can help keep the costs down too.”
Sarah Hillyer, of Kettering, said: “When my boys were younger we used to go to the park and play games, such as rounders, running races, tennis, footy, anything really. But it’s essential to make it as fun as possible.
“Spend the whole day there, take a picnic, drinks etc.
“Also the community spirit comes alive as others join in the fun.
“It’s good for communication skills and confidence-building and tires the kids out.
“If we couldn’t go outside we would play ‘hide the thimble’, hide and seek, paint, draw, listen and dance to music, and generally just use our imagination.”