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Thursday, September 13, 2018

10 Ways to Make More Time to Play With Your Kids

Photo by Matthew Hurst (Flickr)

If your life is as busy as mine, you may not always know if you're coming or going! My girls are almost as busy, and finding time to play together is almost impossible some days. We need play time with our kids, though, because play helps us bond, improves communication, and builds trust. Consider joining me in making more time to play with our kids in these ten ways.

Turn Errands Into Game Time

My girls used to dislike visiting the grocery store, pharmacy, or post office with me, but we now turn almost every errand into a play opportunity. We might play I Spy, complete grocery store bingo cards, or compete to find the best deal of the day. These and other games can make essential errands fun and add more playful bonding time to our routine.

Share Household Chores

Someone has to wash dishes, dust furniture, fold laundry, and do dozens of other household chores, and I often ask my girls to help me. We sometimes race to see who can fold the most laundry in two minutes or dance as we dust. The work gets done faster and is a lot more fun when we play. As a bonus, my girls learn how to do household chores properly as we work together.

Cook Special Dinners

I admit that cooking with helpers takes more time. My girls and I share many fun moments in the kitchen, though. As we prep and cook tacos, pizza, sushi, or breakfast together, we chat, laugh, and learn. Our meals even taste better, I think, because my girls and I have invested time cooking these special dinners as a team.

Establish Playful Traditions

Each year, my girls get to pick the agenda for their birthday celebration. We might go hiking, visit a local museum, or enjoy a special meal at a favorite restaurant. Additionally, we've established other playful traditions throughout the year. On the last day of school, we visit a local water park, and Friday nights are reserved for pizza and active video games. These special moments give us time to play together as we create memories that my girls will remember for a long time.

Take Pajama Walks

As toddlers, my girls sometimes fought sleep and did almost everything they could think of to postpone bedtime. One night, I told them to brush their teeth, comb their hair, and put on their pajamas, and then we strolled leisurely around the block. The pause gave us time to connect, and the fresh air helped them relax. A great alternative to pre-bedtime fights or TV, this fun idea is still one we all enjoy occasionally.

Play Games

A few years ago, my younger daughter became obsessed with Candy Land. I quickly grew tired of that board game, but you can bet I played with her every time she asked. I knew that I needed to enter her world so we could better connect with each other and build trust. Plus, we had tons of fun laughing our way to the candy castle every day. Whether your kids are into soccer, robotics, or chess, consider playing often as you invest in your kids, prove that you value them, and make time to play.

Drive Less Often

I often rush the kids to the car when we have errands or they want to visit a friend. However, my neighbor challenged me last month to walk with my girls instead. Sure, walking takes extra time, but we use those minutes to chat and connect. Walking is good exercise for our bodies and minds, too. For these reasons, I've decided to drive less and walk more with my girls. So far, it's been a great decision for all of us!

Be Spontaneous

Our job as parents and caregivers never ends, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed with responsibilities. However, our kids need us and are only small once. Instead of pushing our kids away when they ask us to play or invite us to interact with them, we can consider embracing all of those precious and engaging opportunities to play. Our adult tasks can wait as we toss a ball, inspect new artistic creations, build block castles, and otherwise invest in our children.

Perform Home Repairs as a Team

Ever since they could hold their toy screwdrivers, my girls have enjoyed being my assistants during home repair projects. They pass me tools and even help me with the jobs now as we change light bulbs, clean the furnace filter, and repair leaky faucets. I appreciate the time we spend together, and we have fun as I teach my girls important life skills.

Check in Each Day

My girls know that I will make time each day to check in with them. We might shoot hoops, play a game of Wii bowling, or have a pillow fight as we chat about the day, discuss any concerns, and connect. Even if we only spend a few minutes together, we have fun and make memories as we bond.

Play time is essential for our kids and for us. Although life is busy, we can make more time to play with our kids. In addition to these ten suggestions, in what other ways do you add play time to your routine with your kids?

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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