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The Importance of Playful Relationships During Stressful Times

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Love to Play. Play to Love.

A recent study found the effects of the prolonged global pandemic are profound on our collective emotional state. Two Indiana University Bloomington professors researched the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on mental health and how relationships are negatively impacted. The pair found social distancing and isolation creates a very stressful situation and make it difficult for people to maintain healthy relationships.

There are many ways to approach the treatment of depression, anxiety and relationship struggles. PlayCore's Tom Norquist believes one way is to infuse your relationships with play. For children, parents, partners, and spouses, play may be a key to getting along and getting through the days ahead.


Tom Norquist Talks About the Importance of Playful Relationships

Video Transcript

When you're with your family, and your children are asking you to play, they're asking you for your time and your engagement in their world. And they want you to be part of their world. And there's no higher honor. There's no higher honor.

And that same thing applies when you're in a relationship. That same thing applies.

And I was thinking about writing this book, like "The Secrets of Dating" and all that, but what it really is...the secret is just being engaged in a playful type of activity. If you do that, you're going to have more fun. You're going to get to know each other.

You're going to learn whether you're the right play type. You're going to learn what type of player you are, what type of player that person is. It's powerful. And sometimes I might be an object play person where you might be an imaginative play person. And we may not be matched up right together.

But if we're both object play people, and we're having fun together...all of a sudden this magic occurs and a relationship gets deeper and deeper and deeper.

If you love to play, we like to say you should play to love. And it's based on relationships and how play is an integral part of really improving one's relationship with their mate or whoever their partner is.

Share the Importance of Play

If you are a play advocate and want to share the importance of play with your community, request a copy of Words on Play. Words on Play is a collection of essays by leading play scholars. Together, these essays demonstrate play is critical for healthy physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development.

To learn more about Words on Play, and all of our research-based programs and resources, contact the GameTime play expert in your community.