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?

 
BUFFER
. I find transitions to be particularly hard for my littles. When I remember to add buffer time, and reconnect with them through play they are more cooperative and more joyful. It seems counter intuitive because we “only have this much time” – so to take time out for “something else” seems like it doesn’t make sense. But the truth is, when we engage with ourselves and each other playFULLy we FEEL more connected. When we feel connected, it means less stress, less backlash, less temper tantrums. More cooperation. It feels like a warm cozy blanket we are all cuddled under together, not fighting for the covers. I cannot enter the space to allow for connection when I am feeling rushed, late, and overwhelmed. If I add some buffers into the schedule for unscheduled play, everything goes more smoothly.

 

PRO TIP: MAKE SPACE. Make Space for play in your life. Schedule it. It’s as necessary for our Spirit as good nutrition, proper sleep, and love. Creating space in your busyness for PLAY, strengthens bonds and the feeling of security. When we are feeling connected and secure, we BUFFER. I find transitions to be particularly hard for my littles. When I remember to add buffer time, and reconnect with them through play they are better able to deal with our day (and each other!)

 

 

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