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How to Play With Your Child Without Getting Bored

By: Erin Kurt, B.Ed

Do you cringe when your child asks you to play "Choo Choo train" or Barbies with them? It's the hidden secret that moms are only now speaking about. Moms are finally being honest about the fact that they don't like playing most of the games their children want them to play and that they actually feel resentful at times that they are being "forced" to play something they don't enjoy. Along with this feeling comes, you guessed it...guilt.

It is this guilt, I believe, that has caused parents to schedule their child's every minute. art class, gym class...; the list of activities that parents take their children to helps alleviate the guilt they feel for not wanting to play with their children and ensures, in their minds, that their children will not get bored. There are a couple of things to look at here: One, do we really need to play with our kids? And two, if not, what is the alternative?

Parents do not need to be their child's playmate. In fact at times, playing with your child can actually limit their creative imagination because adults play differently than children. Now, although we parents should not feel obliged to play with our children we DO need to spend some one-on-one time with our children throughout the day in order to create a close bond, make them understand that we like them and not just love them and to instill some of our values. How do we do this?

If you are a parent who stays home with your child you can schedule a time in the morning and afternoon when it's mommy/daddy time. During this time pick something that you actually enjoy doing and share it with your child. For example, do you enjoy baking? Then bake some muffins, cookies, buns, or bread together. On a Sunday afternoon you can search through some cookbooks together to gather some recipes you would like to try or you can simply choose them on your own.

Do you enjoy making crafts? Make this your together time activity. The trick is to choose something that is your hobby or something you enjoy and share it with your child. Your child will love the experience of seeing you so excited as you share your knowledge and enthusiasm. And, never again will you feel resentful or guilty.

Being with your children is about being fully present. If building Lego worlds or chasing your kids around the garden is not fun for you, don't do it! However, if playing the piano, reading, taking a bath, cooking, or taking photographs is your "thing" then invite your child to be a part of it during your one-on-one time. It's a win-win situation.

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