It’s so easy to get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent while raising our kids. There are so many things that have to get done. Let alone sleepless nights and full-time jobs, there’s mountains of laundry, school work, and carpooling. It can seem like there’s no time or energy for play. But playing with our kids is so important for building a lifelong connection with them. This connection leads to them opening their hearts for your advice as they grow up and togetherness once they reach adulthood.
But playing with our kids is so important for building a lifelong connection with them. This connection leads to them opening their hearts for your advice as they grow up and togetherness once they reach adulthood.
My two girls are now adults who are building their own families. We have never been closer. We have an openness with each other and they love being with me. Finding fun things to do with kids, playing with them, and sharing their activities was one important element to what we have today. It was so worth the investment of my time and energy all those years. As a mom, it can seem daunting to come up with ideas of how to play with our kids. Here are some things that worked well for me.
1. Do something crazy.
One of our favorite activities was floating popsicle sticks down the gutters during the rain. We would get soaking wet as we would always end up splashing and dancing together. I had to overcome insecurities as the neighbors gathered on their porches to laugh with us.
2. Learn the names and details of their toys.
When my girls were young, Bratz Dolls were all the craze. I learned the dolls names and how they functioned and played make-believe with them. Play video games with them. They will love beating you and making fun of you.
3. Build forts in the house.
I loved fort building when I was a kid. So, I built them for my kids. I pulled out the extra sheets and blankets and hung them over chairs. Then we crawled inside and pretended we were inside a secret cave.
3. Watch their favorite tv shows and movies.
I know all the Barney the Dinosaur songs, the names of all the dinosaurs on the Land Before Time, watched every episode of Kim Possible, and can sing-a-long to any Disney movie. Sometimes it felt like my ears were going to fall off but I made myself participate. My girls would look excitedly at me as I watched what brought them such joy.
4. Join, watch, or coach their teams.
I didn’t know a thing about soccer but I signed up as a coach when my kids were five. It didn’t matter what I didn’t know. They were just having fun. I also trained with their swim team in middle school. The exercise was fantastic! And I helped the ballet teacher when my youngest was six. And yes, I donned pink tights and a leotard and plied with the best of them. I also attended as many games and recitals as was possible. Elementary Christmas musicals are also hard on the ears, but so worth it.
5. Listen to their favorite musical artists, especially when they are teens.
Also hard on the ears sometimes. But singing along to Taylor Swift or Maroon 5 on a road trip gave my girls a thrill. And, I knew what they were listening to so I could monitor it. It also led to me being able to share my favorite bands from back in the day. They still like some of those 1980’s hits.
Tell us! What are your favorite things to play with your kids?