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Does this sound familiar: you are just getting home from work and you have what seems like a million things still on your to-do list, or maybe you are a WAHM and you are in the middle of working and your child comes to you and asks you to play with them.
All you can think about is the million things you still have to do and how you just don’t have time play with your kid.
Maybe you try to get them to play with their sibling instead (if they have one) or you try to find something to occupy them to so you can get back to what you need to get done. It becomes easy to brush off playing with the kids as something you don’t have time for, or as something that isn’t that important.
Sometimes my son will start whining and begging me to play with him, I will suggest all kinds of things for him to do, but sometimes the only thing he wants is to play with mom. I have come to realize that it is actually important to take time to play with him on a daily basis if at all possible.
Playing with kids is so much more than just playing. Playing is the way kids learn about life, relationships, social skills, etc. It is how they connect with us as their parents on a different level, a way for them to communicate ideas and feelings that they don’t know how to communicate directly. It is a way to build a bond with us that will last for life.
So that is why I compiled this list of reasons why it’s important to take time out of our busy days to play with our kids.
1. Sometimes no one else will
Whether they are an only child, or a child with no siblings close in age or, as is the case with my oldest son, only have a sibling is who severely disabled and unable to really play with him yet, it is important for them to have someone to play with.
Most of the time my son plays well by himself, however he craves having someone else to interact with, play games and do activities that require the participation of someone else and usually his preferred companion is mom or dad.
2. You can be a role model
Let’s face it, kids copy what they see, they learn from the actions of others around them. By playing with your kids you can make sure that you are one of their most important role models. Your kids will watch you and mimic what you do and how you react to situations.
You can also encourage them to be more active by engaging in active play, you can help them develop their motor coordination and learn good sportsmanship. Kids are constantly absorbing attitudes and behaviors from those around them, so take this opportunity to be that role model and help mold those attitudes and behaviors into something positive.
3. You bond with them
Playing with your child(ren) helps you to bond with them and strengthen your relationship. It lets your child know how loved and appreciated they are, which makes it easier for them to open up and share their thoughts, problems and concerns.
Getting to know and understand your child better will allow for easier, more open communication. The stronger the bond you have, the more your child will want to be compliant and wish to please you, which means they will be better behaved.
4. It will help your child develop social skills and self-control
Through playing with your child you can help them learn more about social interactions and boundaries and self-control.
You can help them by teaching them to take turns, the importance of sharing, practicing patience, etc.
5. It helps your child build self-confideence
By playing with your child you can let them take the lead, make the decisions in your games and give them positive feedback, in order to help them build their self-confidence.
6. You can help your child learn how to regulate their emotions
Through playing with your child you can learn so much more about what triggers certain emotional responses and gently guide them and help them to learn how to deal with and regulate those emotions.
7. Playing is great stress relief
Playing with your child is great stress relief, not only for you, but for your child as well. Interacting with your child, especially in affectionate play, can release oxytocin (the bonding hormone) which will not only strengthen your bond with your child but can also reduce stress.
Plus, there is nothing like just taking some time out of your day to just be silly and not think about work or all of the things you have to do.
We all need to take some time to just relax and laugh and allow ourselves to be silly. Doing this can help us to really enjoy our children in a different way.
And, it can even change our perspective on life if we can take a moment to see the world through our kids eyes.
8. You rediscover the simple joy of playing (and start to feel like a kid again yourself)
You can find simple joy in playing with your kids by just relaxing and letting them pull you in to their make believe world, you can start to feel like a kid again and let your own imagination go!
So just take some time to let go of everything and be in the present and let your imagination run wild. Bonus! This can even help spur your creativity and inspire you in any creative endeavors you may be pursuing!
In conclusion, even though we are crazy busy most of the time, it really is important to schedule in some time to play with our kids every day if possible. I believe this allows us to connect with them and get to know them on a different level, which will ultimately strengthen our relationship with our children and result in better behaved children in the long run.
Sometimes I play with my son while cooking or cleaning, making it part of the game, that way we get in some valuable play time without missing out on the chores.
Whenever I am cooking my son likes to pretend I am the chef and he is a client in my restaurant, or sometimes my pet cat or dog.
Not only does this allow me to still get the cooking and cleaning done, but it also makes it more enjoyable for me as well and not seem like such a chore, plus it helps counteract that mom guilt I feel from spending so much time away from my kids and from having to be so busy all of the time even while I am with them.
How about you? Do you try to fit in play time with your kids every day and what are some of the creative ways you make time for your little ones in your busy schedules?