From the Cover of Games and Activities for Attaching With Your Child by Deborah D. Gray and Megan Clarke:
“Packed with great ideas for fun games and activities, this book encourages positive attachments between a parent or carer and their child.
When it comes time to choose the best games to play with children who have difficulties attaching, sometimes it is hard to know how to play with a purpose. Games and Activities for Attaching With Your Child contains fun, age-appropriate games along with an explanation of why these games matter. Games are designed with specific age groups in mind and to address particular needs in children that are known to affect attachment, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. This book provides an easy-to-understand description of attachment and reveals the crucial role that play has in forming attachments.
Written for parents and carers, as well as for use by professionals, it is full of strategies to help build healthy attachments in children who have experienced early trauma.”
Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 5 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]
What Our Family Thought:
This book is written to caregivers who are caring for children from traumatic backgrounds. The book encompasses activities that are age appropriate for any age group (infant through teenager). The book also seems to do well in creating activities that will engage a child from most traumatic backgrounds including those exposed to alcohol or other substances.
The book overall is a collection of information and activities that are designed to help you bond and connect with your child. The book is not simply comprised of games that someone recalled from their childhood. Each contributor is a professional in some manner or respect that demands attention from the foster care or adoptive community.
Half of the power in this book is not in the introduction of activities for your family to engage. However, a major portion of the book is in helping to educate you, the caregiver, on the concepts of bonding and attachment. These may be terms that you merely think you understand but authors do well to walk you through the concepts to help you understand why mere play is so significant in your household.
The book is setup for readers to easily revisit and find activities which will help them at various points in life. There is a table of activities created at the front which not only have the name of the activities with page numbers but also the age grouping for the activity as well as the approximate time the activity will take to do.
Moreover, each individual activity is broken down for you to quickly assess the benefits of the game and exactly how to carry out the activity with your child. Each activity starts with identifying the age group for the game followed by the approximate time for the activity. Next readers will be able to read a quick overview of the activity followed by a more detailed description of how to play the game/activity. Finally, each activity will end with comments that will give you more indepth insight as to obstacles to watch out for during the activity or modifications you might want to make for your child. You might also learn more about why the game is healthy for you and/or your child.
Overall, this book will introduce the reader to several activities that can be housed in your mental tool box of ways to help your child from a traumatic place. The authors seem to have done a great job of presenting a information to caregivers that will make you believe again that it is more than just okay to play with your child – it’s necessary.
As I progressed through this book, there were times I honestly couldn’t believe that I was reading about how to play activities such as, “Airplane,” with my child. It seems like an innate game that we all played with young children. I wondered if other caregivers would pay money to actually read about this. HOWEVER, I believe that the real magic comes into play when the reader learns the WHYs behind the activities. For me the comments and information telling me the benefits of an activity for my child from traumatic backgrounds gave me permission to simply play with them. Essentially, the book took my childhood games and gave them purpose – turned them into healing tools.
I do want to point out that there were MANY activities included in the book that were new to me and which I felt were useful to families.
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It’s Your Turn:
- What is your definition of “bonding” before reading the book? after?
- What is your definition of “attachment”?
- Why do you believe that attachment and bonding are necessary in a foster/adoptive family scenario?
- Why is play necessary in assisting in bonding and attaching?
- What 3 activities in the book do you find most beneficial? Why?