Millions of ‘self-conscious’ parents admit they are often too embarrassed to play with their own kids, according to research.

A poll of 1,000 parents with children aged 3-12 found 28 per cent sometimes feel ‘awkward’, while a fifth actually blush when playing with their little ones.

Dancing is one of the activities a third would prefer to avoid, while a quarter would opt out of dressing up, singing and playing sports games – if they had the choice.

But 73 per cent have been making an extra effort to keep their child stimulated through play to make up for the fact they’ve been unable to socialise with others their own age over the last 12 months.

And even though 69 per cent tend to avoid certain activities because they ‘can’t do it properly’, 84 per cent said lockdown has helped them feel more comfortable when playing pretend and being creative.

Paul Schaffer from Plum Play, which commissioned the research, 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.”

The study also found almost two thirds of parents have had to play ‘uncomfortable’ games during the previous lockdowns, but as they have spent increasing amounts of time as a family during the pandemic, 48 per cent are now more happy to be involved in playtime.

As of February 2021, the average parent spends 78 minutes playing with their child daily – with 57 per cent saying this has increased since the start of the pandemic.

Despite initial reservations, 78 per cent of parents feel playtime has had a positive impact on their own overall mood and wellbeing, with 82 per cent noticing the positive benefits for their children too.

For 85 per cent of those polled, parent-and-child playtime is a key part of growing up, and almost eight in 10 agree it is one of the best things about being a parent.

The study, carried out via OnePoll, also found 28 per cent of parents admit they are ‘big kids’ at heart and often enjoy playtime more than their own child.

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”.

The research was commissioned to celebrate the launch of the new BOWL trampoline –  find out more here:


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

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