There was once a time, when we were young, that our imagination knew no end. We could conjure up princesses and dragons in an instant, or have tea with a mermaid in the jungle. Our world revolved around play. It was what we did and who we were. But slowly, as we grew and the world of adult responsibility took over, we forgot just how to play!!
Let that sink in for a moment…. It’s a sobering realization!
Well here’s another one…
Playing… is the only ‘language’ your child knows.
Our babies, toddlers and young children lack the verbal ability to tell us how they are emotionally feeling. In fact, most of the time, they don’t even understand WHAT they are feeling. But some time spent, one-on-one, with the most important person in their lives (that’s you Mom), has the power to fix all. Your child will not say “Mommy, I’ve had a bad day, can we chat?” But they definitely will say “Mommy, will you come play with me?”
As adults, if we are honest with ourselves, we now find play hard to do. Our mind will race through the list of things and chores we should be doing instead. It’s been a tiring day and it’s hard to dig deep and find the enthusiasm we need to meet our child’s play needs and, of course, everyone wants a piece of mom.. from Hubby, to the kids, to the pets.
But being playful with our children doesn’t mean that we have to sit and pretend to play “teacher” or “superheros” for the tenth time that day. We simply need to be aware of play and bring it into our daily routine as often as you can.
What do I mean exactly? Here are some examples:
- Sing a song to wake your child up in the mornings, even if you make it up on the spot.
- If they having a hard time getting up, tickle them
- Dance when you holding them
- Sing their nursery rhymes with them in the car
- Play peek-a-boo when you putting clothes on or off
- Chase them to the bathroom at bath time
- Throw them into the air when you pick them up
- Read to them before bedtime
- Race them in the grocery cart
- Give them a hug… just because and refuse to let go.
- Give a high five
- Pull funny faces from across the room
- Horsey rides or aeroplane flying on your legs
- Give them a kiss… a butterfly kiss, an Eskimo kiss, an elephant kiss.. as many as you can come up with
Now I do recommend taking your child’s mood into consideration. Read what type of mood they are in and ‘play’ accordingly.
A child that is grumpy in the mornings is not going to enjoy you jumping on the bed to wake them up… but a gentle cuddle up and soft song may work better.
Also become aware of HOW your child plays. This will often give you an insight into their soul and through basic questions while playing, you may get more information than you would expect!
One thing is for sure Mommy, when we incorporate play into our everyday lives, on a frequent basis, the connection with our children becomes stronger, which means that they feel more accepted, understood and loved.
Plus… You will never look back on life and think… I spent too much time with my kids!
Contributed by Michelle Littlejohns of Clamber Club Babies– Durbanville