MOMMY, MOMMY, WILL YOU PLAY WITH ME?

 

Hearing these words usually comes with a bit of biting my tongue. Even for me, the Mom who believes whole-heartedly IN the value of play. Even for me, the Mom who has built a career around designing Play things. Even for me, the Mom who believes that all human beings, including grownups, should invite PLAY into their lives more.

Hearing these words usually comes with a bit of biting my tongue. Even for me, the Mom who believes whole-heartedly IN the value of play. Even for me, the Mom who has built a career around designing Play things. Even for me, the Mom who believes that all human beings, including grownups, should invite PLAY into their lives more.

So why, then, when I hear “Will you PLAY with me?” do I have to bite my tongue? Why is my first (internal) reaction to cringe? Why does it take mindfulness and intention and a conscious choice to engage in such a basic human form of CONNECTION? That’s ultimately what it is.

A Bid for Connection.

A child asks us to play because their PLAY is the work of childhood. Because they are INVITING us into their WORLD. Asking these five simple words – to ME – is an honor.

It’s a way for them to reach out, pull me close, show love, and connect.

And yet, I don’t always interpret their words as an invitation to connect. I usually see it as a chore.

While I am sitting down to play my mind races to all the other things I should be doing….or could be doing. I have a hard time slowing down my thoughts, my stream of consciousness enough to BE PRESENT. I think I have to direct what this interaction needs to look like. Or model something exceptional. Or teach something amazing. And it feels like pressure…a burden…..when really,
PLAY is the JOY of childhood.

How do I turn off my to-do lists and tap into the peace inside my Soul that can nurture connection and the ability to Show Up Messy and PLAY?


STRUGGLE. Allow them to see you struggle. To find your way. Allow them to offer you help.

Imagine being a young person always being told how to do things, what to do, when to do it. Fumbling,

spilling, falling….when everyone around you seems to have life figured out. Allow your child to see your struggle and by speaking your struggle out loud shows them that we all feel frustration. It’s part of growth. It also helps them put words to similar thoughts and feelings they may be having. Giving them the opportunity to be the expert will empower them to share their own voice more confidently and lead the way.PRO TIP: IT’S OKAY TO FEEL FRUSTRATED. Your child doesn’t need to be rescued. They need space to figure things out. If they become overly frustrated, try to ask questions to support their own problem solving skills. Make observational statements instead of telling them what to do. Allow pause, space, and the opportunity to problem solve. “that red block is bigger.” “The mat is slippery.” What do you notice? They will likely respond with another observation and you can go back into reflective listening where you repeat back to them an observation they have already declared.

 

 

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  • This TIP + 11 More provenreminders of How to Play (with your kids) in PRINTABLE form. These are the reminders I use to cultivate a PlayFULL connection with each of my children.
  • A handy, one-page printable you can hang on your refrigerator to refrigerator, mirror, or front door and get a visual reminder of ways to increase connection and love at home.
  • These reminders have transformed our connection at home into the mindful, intentional, and PlayFULL culture that I truly wished to cultivate and I know they will inspire your family’s connection too!

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