Thursday, January 21, 2010

Playing


Playing with my kids is the most rewarding, behavior-changing (for both of us), calming activity. 

Sometimes I don't feel like it for sure.  Just like exercise and going outside on cold days.  But every time I do take that time to get on the ground and find something fun to do, they just love it. I go to sleep knowing that it was a good day...and I completed my mission. I love that feeling! 

And my kids respond to me playing with them...they are happier, and more centered and less whiny and more (not less!) apt to entertain themselves.  If a particular week is a tough one, (especially when I had 3 little ones), you know...one of those weeks when you feel like you are doing something "wrong"...you just don't know what yet and you are at Wit's End?  I  have found that if I make a conscious effort to PLAY with them both of our attitudes turn right around.  

It isn't about toys and activities as much as it's about attention-our children need our attention,free from distraction.


55 comments :

  1. I'm new to discovering your blog and I must say, I LOVE IT! I love the things you talk about your non-pushy advice! You are just awesome. I also, like this bit of advice about playing with your kids. I have just one that wants me to play with him (the other is only a baby) and I he wants me to play with him ALL THE TIME! I'm sad to say, I don't do it enough, but this little post makes me want to do it more often. And you ARE right, when I do spend some quality time with him, I totally feel like a good mom. And that is not something society put in my brain... that is something innate I'm pretty sure. What about those mom's who constantly push their kids off onto someone else? Are they ignoring that feeling until they don't feel it anymore? Or do they just live with the guilt? hmmmm probably questions that will remain unanswered. Either way, I love your blog! Sorry for being so verbose.... this is probably too long of a comment...

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  2. Great lego village - that's a lot of lego. I used to love that stuff as a kid. It's great to play something together, it's like taking an interst in something your kids enjoy and showing them that even though your busy it's important to make time for someone else too.

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  3. Well, I am starting to understand that perhaps having unexplainable "bla" days for no reason comes with the territory. I've given up trying to figure out...my friend and I decided we would blame it on the hormones! Anyways...I also find that it is helpful to pause and take in the great stuff around you. Notice Tommy doing something when he was told the first time. Notice the kids laughing and giggling with each othe. Notice the perserverance that it must have taken to build an amazing lego city! We really have to try and be present don't we.

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  4. I love Meeks' comment about being present, which is sort of what your post is all about. A struggle for all of us sometimes, isn't it?!!

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  5. I love reading your posts. Those small moments with your kids are so important. :)

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  6. I definitely have found that if my kids (20 months & 6) seem to be acting out more, it usually can be calmed by just playing with them (or reading or crafting). Recently discovered your blog - love it.

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  7. One of my new years resolutions is to focus on present parenting. I notice on the days when I give my kids my undivided attention...even if it is for just 15 minutes....they usually get going on being busy, happy, and content...which results in a few minutes that I can get the things that I feel I "have" to get done....which by the way I also am realizing...they are mot often things I don't HAVE to get done. I LOVE your post - and I LOVE your blog!

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  8. I am a Stay-At-Home(schooling)-Mom and often find myself falling into the trap of "I'm home with him all day". But, I'm beginning to realize that being 'home' and being 'present' are two different things. He still requires part of my day that is focused only on him, not as teacher, but as Mom. It makes a huge difference. Great post and a needed reminder.

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  9. Very cute...It's almost as tall as Patrick!
    Another great post.

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  10. I just read the words being home vs. being present. That is really true. Really made a dent for me. Thank you.. I needed that. I have been saying that I need a vacation. Just me. No one else. Sure, I might need one.But, I have been home but a tad absent/truant if you will. Thanks for the re-focus. I am going to get down and dirty today..

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  11. I noticed that you have a vintage Fisher Price playhouse in the background. My kids have one, too, (oh, the amount I shelled out on eBay for that), and in today's technology world, it still is their favorite toy.

    Great post about being focused.

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  12. i was once told (before i even had kids) to try and 'play' with them for 10-15 minutes an hour. i thought that sounded soooooo easy. shyeah, right! it's tough. but, you're right...it makes everything so much nicer. i'd say i accomplish the hourly rule about 2 hours out of day, but with 4 kids, it works. for us. great post!

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  13. Playing with kids is such a wonderful thing we can do as parents. And also so hard! With my first born, I literally played with him all his waking hours. Then came number 2 and 3 and 4, and they're lucky if I can sit and play with them at all on a given day. Don't get me wrong, it's not as though they are ignored...they cook with me, clean with me, travel in the car and we talk, go shopping. They are constantly talking with me and learning, but playing? Not so much. I REALLY need to focus more on this. Thanks, Sarah :)

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  14. I once heard someone say, Rather than asking your children to wait 15 minutes for you to finish A,B or C- give them those 15 minutes, and they will return the gesture 3 fold. Its so true. I think sometimes they just need you to "check in" and then they can re-boot themselves and do things on their own again...

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  15. This is a great post and a wonderful reminder. It is so hard sometimes to just sit down and play with our kids. My kids get so excited when I play games with them. I don't do it nearly as often as I should. I think tomorrow night needs to be game night at our house. Thanks! And your Lego village rocks! :)

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  16. So true!! Also, when did Patrick turn into a bonafide little guy? He's not looking like a baby anymore! He's starting to be a kid! Also #2 - We are in full force Polly Pockets mode around here. Trouble is, Ruby likes to "layer" their clothes...and rubber on rubber ain't happening. :)

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  17. One more thing.. I put a link to this post on my blog. It really gave me a kick in the rear this morning. Thanks again.

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  18. thank you...this is just want i needed!
    you are the best!

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  19. Yep, I know exactly what you mean about having that 'feeling' you did your mama job well!

    We call intentional time around our house 'special time'. It does make SUCH a difference in behavior when you MAKE time for something just for them with no interruptions.

    I shared about it here:
    http://1wonderwomanwannabe.blogspot.com/2009/07/special-time.html

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  20. Thanks for the reminder to take a minute. I needed it...

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  21. Thank you for the reminder. It is easy to get carried away with laundry, housework, and life.
    By the way, what do you find works for toddler siblings who fight over EVERYTHING but won't play separately?

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  22. Beautiful pictures!
    And a great message. I often wonder if I play enough, too much??? I just kind of go with what feels right for my son and that particular day. Sometimes, now the he's 4, he doens't want me to play... and then other days, he NEEDS me to play with him. LOL
    ~Amy

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  23. I have found that when my kids and I are driving each other absolutely crazy, the best solution (and this applies particularly to my elder child, my son) is snuggle time. Curled up under the covers, and we just talk. I always end up laughing, and falling in love with my little boy all over again. And playing is good too <3

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  24. I need to be sooo much better at this :( I am just not a good "player". I can't make truck and motorcycle sounds :( Going to make a special effort today to it though!!!!!!! Thanks so much!

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  25. It's so true, isn't it? Like you said, I dread it and then feel uplifted afterwards. Why do I fight things that are so good for the soul? Thanks for the post!!!

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  26. This is so true! I am 36 wks pregnant so it is really hard for me to sit in the floor and play trains and legos right now, and I really miss it. My son keeps reminding me that when baby gets here I can play in the floor with him again. We still read books and color, but I'm looking forward to getting back in the floor with him.

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  27. Such great insights on playtime, Sarah. Thank you for giving me a lot to think about. Makes me realize why I feel so good when I do it.

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  28. That's what is great about having a big family. When I had only one the demand to play was very high. When siblings came along I didn't HAVE to be Billy Blaze as much. It was a big relief.

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  29. I have just come to that realization as well with my two year old. Saturday morning before we did ANYTHING else, we played with Play-Dough. He is so much more cooperative when I am able to do that and I feel so much better about myself! Great post!

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  30. I just started reading your blog and I have to say I am really loving it. I love the way you give advice, just in such a great straight forward non pushy manner. Its making so much sense. I have 3, one still home all day with me, and I can use all the helpful tidbits I can get! You have some great ideas!

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  31. Thanks for the kick in the pants! I get so caught up in busyness that I forget to PLAY! Loved this post!

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  32. Sarah, we definitely had parallel days yesterday. Great post :)

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  33. I have 5 as well. And I believe to that it does not have to be PLAY. Whatever they like to do. Carmen and Ava love being creative so we do that together. Not everyday but having 5 kids and fitting everything in all the time..........we do the best we can:) GREAT POST!

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  34. Great post! I know a special little fella that could use a Lego building session with his Mama... and tonight's his night. Thanks for the prompting, I needed it!
    God's blessings, Sarah :D

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  35. AGREED!! I often alternated- i hour with me one hour alone throughout the day when the girls were little and those hours alone I got absolute peace because they were satisfied and knew they would be getting more time with me again shortly!

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  36. This post is bittersweet as those days are gone with my youngest 7. But I'm glad you wrote it because she still needs me to play, the older one's too. They just have different interests now.

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  37. Patrick is looking so much bigger to me in these pictures! You're so right about the playing thing. A lot of times I don't even have to play with my girls...just sit down with them on the floor in front of the barbie house and they do all the talking for me. They just love for me to be close by. I've found if I do this for awhile and start the playing (like you mentioned) then if I sneak off to do laundry they'll continue and be content for quite awhile. So many great posts lately Sarah! I've had fun catching up this morning. :)

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  38. I need to be better about this myself. It is sometimes hard to find the time or sometimes the desire is just not there. I am so happy to hear that you make it a priority.

    As my girls get older I find we spend more time talking than playing, which is great also. One on one time with mommy is always a good thing.

    Your lego village makes me smile. We have a few mini projects laying around the house at all times. Lego's are such fun.

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  39. YAY for hands-on moms! As you know all-to-well, time flies and one day that sweet little boy will be a fine young man...Good for you... sacrifice of time pays off later in life:) You're a great example to all mothers everywhere!!

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  40. mary from michiganJanuary 21, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    you certainly have your priorities in the right place. making memories is what it's all about!

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  41. Those are great pics! I am trying to make more of an effort to play with my little men too, I just wish they liked dolls and My Little Ponies...I remember how to play with those things!

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  42. Thank you. I got off my computer this morning and we played together. It was good.

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  43. Amen Sistah! You are so right. And as always I love what you have to say and I am glad you share your thoughts. You are a force for good...lots of good anywhere people can read your blog. Powerful. Thanks for being so generous with all of us. xoxoxo

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  44. so true.
    i need to be reminded of that....
    thanks.

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  45. Thanks for the reminder. Much needed today!

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  46. a legos ... my little brother and i made many a leo villages!

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  47. I neede to hear this this very week, thank you so much.

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  48. That is a wonderful tip that we all need to be reminded of once in a while. Slow down, play and enjoy the children. They are only little for such a short time we need to relish in it!!!! Thanks a million for the reminder - I just played today in fact and it was so fun♥

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  50. I just recently started reading your blog...love it. It is funny that you wrote this post because my "one word New Year's resolution" is PLAY. I think we all get too bogged down with the day to day tasks and take life (and ourselves) too seriously. Kids grow too fast. I was tired of saying "In a minute" and never getting to it (I am sure they were too). You are right. It is amazing how a few minutes of PLAY makes everyone happier!!!

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  51. I stumbled across your blog, and have made it a goal to play with my kids more this week. I have a 7 month old, 3 yr, and 2 yr old. My 2 yr old is the hard one for me. I think she may just need a little extra attention and playing time. So far so good, but I'm really going to be making an effort. I always struggle with how much time to make sure they get. I wanted to let you know you made a difference for me this week.

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  52. That is so true. I found that very true with my first. The time I took to play with the kids has tapered some now that they entertain themselves, but It's the first thing I go back to when I feel like one of them is pushing their boundaires. They just need some extra attention.

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