I Am Bad at Playing With My Kids
I am bad at playing with my kids.
Phew. It has taken me a long time to say (type) that. But then a story in this month’s Parents magazine helped me realize I am not the only one.
I am good at loving my kids. I am good at reading to my kids. I am good at taking them fun places like the park and Disneyland and the beach. I am good at making memories for them through jokes and music and special outings. I am good at watching them draw and write and learn to read. I am good at dressing them.
But I am really not that great at “playing” with them. Dolls, trucks, Playdoh, it’s all the same to me and it’s boring. You won’t find me on all fours parading around the house neighing like a horse. You won’t find me pretending to be Doc McStuffins and putting an IV into a stuffed bear. You may find me rocking a baby doll to sleep once in a while, but I can tell you, that doll will be the easiest sleeper you’ve ever met. I can do a million and one things for my kids day in and day out, but somehow I have a very hard time just sitting down to play with them.
So a brilliant writer for Parents who had come to the same conclusion went out and sought some expert advice on how to perk up her family’s playtime. Here is what she found:
1) Prioritize play. Turn off the cell phone and the TV and make playtime a priority. It can be as little as 15 minutes (and, in fact, the writer found that her kids actually tired of her rather quickly once she started playing with them), just enough time to engage with them in play, help meet their immediate needs and hopefully set them on a self-driven journey of imagination.
2) Just say yes. This was a tip from an improv teacher: just say “yes, and….” and see where it takes you. I had actually already been implementing this the past few weeks on my own. When my kids asked me to play Legos or trains or whatnot, instead of automatically coming up with an excuse, I chose to say “yes”, regardless of my mood, and dive in. It was easier done than just said, surprisingly.
3) Keep ’em guessing. The last piece of advice came from a professional clown (clearly he has an edge on the rest of us) who credits surprise and spontaneity with his playful prowess. Start randomly juggling the potatoes when you’re making dinner. Read Fancy Nancy with a fake British accent. Put a bowl on your head while they are brushing their teeth. And then bring one out for them to try on. The key is to put a little goofy into your demeanor to bring a case of the giggles to the whole family.
In the end, the writer summarized it by saying this: our kids don’t actually want to play with us 24/7. They prefer to play with other children, they just like to have us around without an iPhone in hand once in a while…and with a bowl on our heads.
Are you good at playing with your kids?? If yes, please share your secrets in the comments below! If no, please share that in the comments below…so I don’t feel so bad!
*image above via here*
from → Parenting