Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Finding 5 minutes to play with your kids

We are all good at finding reasons for why we cannot find time to play with our kids. There is never anytime to get everything we need to get done in the day let alone play. I personally find this to be my weakness as a parent. I can supervise with the best of them but struggle to make time to play with my kids.

Yet I know that just taking the time to play with them has way more benefits then not. I know giving them five to ten minutes of playtime with me a day increases their positive behaviors and actually frees more time for me. But I still struggle to remember to make the time. It is difficult for me to play, not instruct or supervise.

At one point I actually scheduled playtime in my day timer. That worked for a bit and then other things started to interfere with it. It is summer and all the kids want to do is play outside with their friends. By the time the come in it is dinner, bath, story, and then bed time. When do I fit playtime in there with out disrupting the routine? They get hyper when we play and it is not conducive for an easy bedtime, they just want to keep playing. Now 5 minutes is not a lot of time and should be easy to fit into the day.

I realized today that I have the perfect opportunity for playtime several times a day. We wait for the bus every morning for 10 to 15 minutes. We play pirates on the bench at the bus stop. Today they each took a stuffy with them and we played a game with them. It was easy to do and it was a lot more fun then just sitting there. What do I care about what the other people at the bus stop think; I am spending time with my kids. Added bonus was that because the kids were playing with me I did not have to worry about them getting to close to the road or picking up who knows what off the ground. It made it easer and fun for all of us. This is gong to work for us.

I finally figured out that it does not have to be formal playtime on the floor with toys or at the table with play dough. We can play anytime and any place. I think it will be easer to go shopping with them because we can now make a game out of it, and play. Instead of me telling them to keep up, keep your hands to yourself, get back here, don’t touch that. We can play I spy, pirates looking for a treasure (some item on the shopping list), or just about anything the kids can come up with. Trust me they can come up with way better ideas then I can. Bus rides and waiting for the bus, or standing in line are now times to play.

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