Playful parenting Top tips for playful parenting Top tips for getting other people thinking about the importance of play Do other people in your community understand the importance of play? To encourage adults – like parents, local councillors, school staff, neighbours, police officers and community wardens – to give play more support, you may need to help them understand it better. Here are some ideas which could help. Explore people’s play memories When people remember how they played when they were children, it helps them make an emotional connection with play. Ask adults to tell you about their favourite places to play, what they liked to play and who they played with when they were children. This works well in meetings, even quite formal ones. Explain about children’s right to play Find out whether they know that all children have a right to play as part of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The UK signed up to this convention in 1989. It may be useful to tell them that every local authority in Wales has a responsibility to provide play opportunities for children, too. Get children to speak for themselves Play is important to children so they usually have plenty to say about it. Getting them to share their experiences of playing – using their own words and pictures – is very powerful. Find the hook Different things interest and persuade people – facts, statistics, stories and pictures. Try to find the thing that will get the attention of the people you need to persuade about the importance of play. Get your facts right There is plenty of evidence about the importance of play. Use some facts from people like academics and health and education professionals to make a strong argument. Use positive images A picture paints a thousand words: Share pictures of children playing in the past and playing now Ask people to share their own play pictures Send a picture story to your local newspaper Use social media. Remember to show pictures that represent everyone in the community. And make sure you always get the permission of everyone in the picture (or their responsible adult) to take and use a photograph. If you want to use a photo taken by someone else, get their permission and make sure you credit them by naming them or their company alongside the image. Find the influential voice It can be very powerful to hear a really good speaker giving a talk. Try to find the right person for your audience – what kind of person would they listen to? Examples could include someone from a play organisation, a headteacher, an outside expert or researcher, someone in the community. Appeal to people’s sense of fairness Every child has an equal right to play but in reality not all of them have equal experiences. In your community or play setting, are there children who miss out on playing? Discuss why and what could be done. Celebrate Every success, small or large, deserves recognition. Publicise every achievement and celebrate the projects and activities that are going well, using your local newspaper and social media. Find out more on how you can raise awareness about play These Top tips for getting other people thinking about the importance of play can be printed and shared – they’re great for helping others find out more about children’s play.