Just a quick tip while I’m thinking about it on this rainy (but cool!!) Friday morning.
I really struggle to sit and play with my daughter. Games and crafts I can do. Reading, we’re great. Playing dollhouse . . . well, let’s just say I start out with really good intentions and then about fifteen minutes later, I sometimes hear the words, “Mommy, wake up!” So a couple weeks ago, I tried a new, two-part strategy. 1) I made my coffee right before I went to go play, and I took it with me into the playroom. 2) I set a timer to go off in 10 minutes. (and a minor 3rd – I didn’t allow myself to lay down to play). I chose ten minutes because it felt manageable.
We played for ten solid minutes.
When the timer went off, I told my daughter that I was going to go fold laundry for ten minutes and then I’d be back. I set the timer again and headed for the pile that awaited. (It’s amazing how much you can fold in ten minutes if you’re focused!) I made good on my promise and stopped as soon as the timer went off again.
We played for another solid ten minutes.
Before an hour was up, my daughter had around 30 solid minutes of engaged play time . . . and I never got bored! I appreciated the wise encouragement from a friend, who told me that I was not a bad mom for not playing with my child for hours on end. She had given me the freedom to realize that small amounts of completely focused time were completely acceptable, and even appreciated by my child. And they truly were!
So that’s my quick Friday tip for you. I’d love to hear about how you play with your children, too!