Do you know why free play is important for your children?

Let me tell you!
Research shows that free play, alone or with friends, teaches children to be less anxious and more resilient, and it improves social skills. It also makes children feel like they are in control of their lives, which leads to greater autonomy and self-control.

In my new book: Play The Danish Way – A Guide to Raising Balanced, Resilient and Healthy Children through Play I explain why play is a crucial element in children’s development. It gives parents insight into how important play is for raising resilient and healthy children. It is a hands-on guide on how to integrate play as a part of everyday life.

Play The Danish Way answers some of the many questions arising in the aftermath of this book’s predecessor: The Danish Way of Parenting. To raise happy children, we need to consider the whole child: its physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. This book is an introduction on how to do that, through unstructured free play.

To build resilience in children, it is important to constantly give them small tasks and collect successful experiences. With a heavy bag of successes to draw from, it is easier to build self-esteem. When challenged by life, the child is confident he/she has a chance of overcoming difficulty simply by being who they are.
Play helps develop a sense of self that shapes the foundation for whole and happy children. Furthermore, the experience of succeeding with something new, when experimenting freely, releases endorphins in the reward system of the child’s brain, which leads to feelings of happiness and satisfaction. In this manner, there is renewed energy for testing new and unexplored areas.
That’s why Danes put such a high value on a relaxed atmosphere where play can flourish. This can definitely be connected to why Denmark is constantly voted the happiest country (or second happiest this year) for more than 40 years.

To get a deeper understanding of the potential of play and why we should let our children play much more – find the new book on amazon when it is launched June 1, 2017.

Give children time and space and freedom. Let children play!


Iben Sandahl

Iben Sandahl comes from Denmark and is an internationally-renowned public speaker, best-selling author, psychotherapist and educator. She has more than 20 years of experienced insight into child psychology and education, which in a most natural way anchor the Danish way of practicing parenthood. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Salon, El Païs, Reader’s Digest, Greater Good Science, Elle and many more - and her main mission is to help parents raise happy and confident children. She writes for Psychology Today ( ) and leads an European Erasmus financed project on how to implement empathy in schools and institutions all over Europe.

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