How do you play with your child?
Hi friends. Life has been full for me lately. Not necessarily busy, just…full. Most of the past three years I’ve kind of asked Valentine to tag along with whatever I was doing. She would toddle around at my feet while I did dishes, or waller in the laundry while I folded, but lately I’ve tried to adjust my lifestyle for her a little bit more. I don’t want to start teaching her to read or write, I’m not even sure she should be worried about the alphabet yet, but she’s learning so much and her brain is explosively creating all these amazing stories and ideas all the time. I want to be better about making space in my day to validate her exploration and storytelling, whether it’s by sitting on the steps with her and listening to her story, making a dragon cave out of blankets or following through on any questions she asks. It requires more attention on my part, but I’ve loved the extra couple hours I spend concentrating on her.
I feel like most mamas are really good at this; I see so many great examples all around me, but I’ve had to stretch myself a bit to do this. Today at the park my friend gave me the best tip that she learned during a parenting seminar: she said that she and her toddler son have something called “Special Play Time”. When her son asks for Special Play Time, she sets the timer for ten minutes, and for those ten minutes she plays with him. She doesn’t check her phone, she doesn’t ever step away, and she plays whatever he wants to play. She also said that she doesn’t ever asks questions during this time. Questions from a parent can often be ways of challenging or pushing our kids, and she makes Special Play Time a time of affirmation and encouragement. She compliments him, mimics his imaginative play, and participates in his games, whatever they may be. I thought this was such a clever, beautiful way of bonding with your child, but simple enough to do on a regular basis.
What about you? What are some good ways that you’ve found to interact with toddlers? How do you play with and teach your child while still getting work done? What’s your rhythm like with kids/work/housework? Did your mom have any special way of balancing her work and relationship with you as a child?