Parents too 'embarrassed' to play with their kids as they name singing and dancing the worst games, study shows

PARENTS have admitted they’re too self-conscious to play with their kids, with singing and dancing among the most 'embarrassing' activities. 

A study found 28 per cent of parents, with kids aged between three and 12, admitted they felt ‘awkward’ when taking part in games, while a fifth end up blushing when playing with their children. 

A quarter try and avoid singing, dressing and playing sports, while a third want to steer clear of dancing. 

But some 73 per cent of the 1,000 parents polled said they’d made more of an effort over lockdown to get stuck in, to try and make up for their kids not seeing their friends. 

And despite 69 per cent avoiding certain games as they ‘can’t do it properly’, 84 per cent confirmed the lockdown had forced them to be more creative, and helped them get out their comfort zone. 

Paul Schaffer from Plum Play, which commissioned the research to celebrate the launch of the new BOWL trampoline, said: "For some parents, playing certain activities with their children can be a little out of their comfort zone.

“But as children have been unable to play with their peers, many parents have been playing with their children more, to make up for a lack of playtime with other kids.

"This is so important, given the stress on children thanks to home-schooling and lockdown – we mustn’t forget how crucial play is to our children’s development.”

And the study, carried out by OnePoll, showed attitudes had slowly shifted throughout the year, with two third of mums and dads saying they felt ‘uncomfortable’ at the start of the first lockdown joining in games. 

Top 30 activities parents enjoy with their kids

1. Going for walks
2. Going to the park
3. Reading
4. Colouring
5. Going to the beach
6. Baking
7. Having a picnic
8. Drawing
9. Cooking
10. Feeding the ducks
11. Playing hide and seek
12. Going to the zoo
13. Painting
14. Biking
15. Dancing
16. Going to soft play
17. Singing
18. Imaginary play
19. Playing in puddles
20. Trampolining
21. Going to the aquarium
22. Playing tag
23. Running
24. Playing shopkeepers
25. Scootering
26. Jumping on a bouncy castle
27. Playing in the sandpit
28. Dressing up
29. Playing ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf’
30. Playing doctors and nurses

But after spending more time together as a family over the last year, just under half – 48 per cent – now say they’re more willing to take part. 

That’s reflected in the amount of time mums and dads are spending with their children, with figures from last month showing adults spent 78 minutes playing with their kids each day – with 57 per cent saying that figure has increased since the first lockdown. 

While parents are juggling housework, homeschooling and work, 78 per cent noticed engaging in play had a positive impact on their own mood, with 82 per cent noticing benefits in their kids as well. 

Paul Schaffer added: “At Plum we love play, and hearing that parents are breaking down barriers and embracing playtime has been great.

“Not only does play benefit the little ones, but it can be very mood-boosting for the parents too – enabling you to wash off the stresses of the day and bond as a family.

“Playtime is so special, and we hope to see this attitude towards it continue whether we’re playing in the playground or bouncing on a trampoline in our gardens this Spring”.

Overall 85 per cent agreed parent-child play is a key part of growing up, with one in 10 saying it’s the best thing about being a parent, while 28 per cent admitted they’re just a ‘big kid’ at heart. 

And experts predict what the most popular baby names will be in years to come – including Everest and Clover.

While mums rave about B&M’s fun foaming soap they claim makes bath time a breeze – and it’s great for sensitive skin.

Plus, mums are raving about B&Q’s £57 room dividers which instantly give warring kids their own space.


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