Connecting With Your Child Through Play, Part 2: Getting Started in Filial Therapy

Connecting With Your Child Through Play, Part 2 Getting Started; Kim's Counseling Corner Last week, I posted an Introduction to Filial Therapy. Don’t let the name deter you from reading further. This is simply a tool that play therapists use to create and strengthen the relationship between parents and children.

Today, I am going to share the first few steps in getting started in this special play time with your child! We will talk about who will be included, where the play time should be held, a time to schedule, what to tell your child, and what play materials you will need. I am so excited about this blog series because I know so many parents and children can benefit from devoting this time together!!

Getting Started:

Who: This play time is recommended for ONE parent and ONE child together at a time. It doesn’t matter if it’s mom or dad. I recommend these sessions for children between the ages of 3 years and 7 years of age.

When: Decide upon a specific play session time. I recommend starting with 20-30 minutes, once a week. Choose a time when you will have little to no interruptions and you can focus your attention solely on the child. You also want to consider a time when your child will be fed and rested to avoid any irritability or fussiness.

Where: Choose a room that has little distrations for you and your child. You will be putting the toys on the floor so consider somewhere with decent floor space. If all the rooms in your house are regularly used, just make sure the space is clean (to minimize the distration of thinking about the mess).

What To Tell The Child: Tell your child that you want to spend more quality time with them and you have chosen the special time, place, and toys to play together. Make the focus on your desire to spend time with them, rather than wanting anything from the child.

Play Materials: Below is a list of toys and play materials to collect, but first I have a few pointers/guidelines.

  1. Store your toys in a special box or bag, away from the child’s other toys.
  2. Do not allow the child to bring in any toys or take any toys from this box of designated toys.
  3. You can find many of these toys at dollar stores and garage sales. Don’t fret about spending a lot of money!
  4. If you cannot find every toy on this list, do NOT let it keep you from getting started. If you have a good amout of the toys, or find good substitute, then you are good to go!
  5. And finally, below is a list of toys to get started.
  • Play-doh
  • Paper
  • Crayons
  • Child scissors
  • Glue (I prefer stick glue)
  • Pencil
  • Scotch tape
  • 1-2 small cars
  • Police car
  • Fire truck
  • Ambulance
  • 2 cell phones (I use an old cell I no longer use)
  • Medical kit
  • Toy swords
  • Handcuffs
  • Kitchen set (couple dishes and toy food)
  • Baby doll
  • Baby doll accessories (such as a bottle, diaper, clothes)
  • Set of animals (such as a lion, elephant, monkey, shark, dog, pig, etc)
  • 2 soft animals
  • Deck of cards
  • Small ball
  • Noise maker (such as a maraca or toy drum)

I gathered a small sample of toys from my play room to give you an example of the types of toys you will be gathering. Happy hunting!

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Need to catch up on this series?

Connecting With Your Child Through Play, Part 1: Introduction

Author: Kim Peterson, MA, LPC-S, RPT

Kim is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Clinical Supervisor, and Registered Play Therapist in Dallas, Texas.

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