Are you a playful mom?
How would your kids describe you right now?
Some days, I’m a little scared to find out. Hmm. Tired? Stressed? Oh, I’ve got the market on that. But fun?
There’s a million things to do as a mom. So, even when sitting, we’re rarely relaxed. This makes it incredibly difficult to step back and remember to be chill with them.
However, I’d like to be a fun mom. In fact, it’s a part of my mom mantra, or daily goal, if you will.
Set Aside Playtime Each Day
It’s important to set aside time strictly for play where you are completely present with your child. Give them your undivided attention. That means no thinking about the dishes that need done or the dinner that needs started. If you can’t go more than 10 minutes without thinking about everything that needs done, start off with just playing for 10 minutes with them. Then try adding a few minutes each time. Or simply do 10 minute increments. Play with them for 10 minutes, go tackle a few chores, and then do another 10 minutes of play.
Ease Into It
If you feel awkward trying to be silly around your child when there are others nearby, then choose a time to play when you are alone with just your child. After a while, you’ll adjust to playing with them and might not even notice that you’ve slipped into play mode around other people.
It’s also good to begin with something simple. If you don’t feel comfortable playing dress-up or playing pretend, then start with a card game or crafting project. From there, maybe even memorize a few jokes or make silly faces. After you’ve adjusted, step up your silliness with a game of dress-up or read a book with silly voices. Sometimes the best way to approach new things is by doing it slowly.
Make Chores Fun
If you really are struggling to push off your household chores to play with your child, then turn your chores into playtime. Turn cleaning up your child’s toys into a game, and whoever picks up the most wins. Or turn on some music and dance with your child while vacuuming or dusting. Even when you’re getting your child ready in the morning, spend a little extra time making it fun. Pretend to put your child’s pants on their head and laugh when they correct you. You might actually find that your child is more cooperative and helpful during these times if you make it fun.
Create A Story
If your child wants you to make up a story, or play dolls with them, then it’s a good idea to have a basic storyline in mind. Kids Village offers a formula for a story that is often successful: have an animal or bug main character with a cute or silly name that loves to do something, have that character run into another animal or bug that needs help, and then have your main character use their talent/hobby to help solve that other character’s problem. Take to the internet for some storyline or play scenarios that you can use with your child.
Let Your Child Create The Story
If you don’t feel comfortable pulling together your own storyline, ask your child to do it. Then just play along. Children are full of imagination, often more so than adults, and are usually more than willing to share their ideas. Simply follow their lead.
Have A List Of Playtime Activities Ready
If you are struggling with ideas on how to spend playtime with your child, then come up with a list of activities that you can turn to when you’re stumped for ideas. And if you’re still easing into being a playful parent, take it slow. Start with ideas that aren’t so hard for you to do, like maybe have a water balloon fight or go on a bike ride. From there, you can slowly step it up to more creative things like having a goofy face contest or build a fort out of blankets and chairs. The Pragmatic Parent lists activities that you might want to consider trying with your child.
It takes time to adjust to being a playful parent when you are more used to being the responsible parent. It’s okay if you aren’t comfortable playing at first, but the more you practice at playing, the more you’ll adjust. It’s like learning a new skill; it will take time and practice, but you’ll be better in the end for it.