When we go to the park, I am always in awe of all the parents actively playing with their kids. Is it only me? I hate playing with my kids. I love taking care of them, but I hate playing with them. This might surprise you since it’s obvious I cherish my vocation as a stay at home mom, but I just dread my kids asking if I will play.
Those big blue eyes give me so much guilt.
I signed up for an early childhood family education open gym where the listing said the purpose of the class is to get kids and their parents actively playing together. I tried it, but before long found myself just conversing with the teachers and watching other parents play with their kids. This is just something I suck at.
My husband is so good at playing with the kids. He will pretend to be a train and let them ride around on his back through the living room. He will pretend to be the monster and chase them, tickling and wrestling them to no end. He will shoot basketballs and build legos and go down slides and mold play-doh with them. This amplifies my guilt. However, he is the one who pointed out the things I do play with the kids that I seem to enjoy. Yes, there are a handful of things I like to do with my kids to get in that quality time which are probably considered playing.
Right now, Lily is really into pretending to be Cat Noir from Miraculous. Not my idea of fun.
Reading books is my go-to response when I get asked, “Mommy, will you play with me?” Whenever my kid needs some one-on-one time, I’m happy to snuggle up with a story–or five.
I’m a big color-er, as you can imagine. I love drawing or painting and I love sharing that experience with my children. This play can be messy, but it is so worth it to join in. Why do you think adult coloring books have become so popular? Coloring with your kids can be relaxing and enjoyable for both parties involved.
Hide and Seek
Usually, when the kids want to play, they don’t want to do something low-key like I do. Hide and seek is a great solution: it provides down time for you while you are counting or hiding, but is rousing enough for the kids.
Puzzles are one of my favorite ways to spend time playing with the kids. They are rarely interested in doing this with me, but when we get started, they really get into it. Puzzles also teach them critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as spacial awareness and persistence. I’m happy to sit down and do a puzzle to enlarge my kid’s brain anytime.
Sometimes your kids just really want to do something active with Mom. Of course, their idea is to jump on the bed until one hits their head against a wall. But one thing active I really like doing is dancing. I even do it by myself sometimes. So whenever my kid is hyper and wanting to play, I turn on their favorite music (Frozen, again!?) and we bust a move.
Besides these five ways to play, I also do chores, bake, learn, swim, walk, cook, and snuggle with my kids. Obviously, there is no shortage of quality time. I just can’t stop chastising myself for not being more playful with my littles, especially after reading this adorable article. After all, they are only young once.