When I was just anticipating parenthood, I’ve expected tasks that I know I will not be looking forward to. These include constantly cleaning messes or not getting enough sleep. However, I did not expect that I will dread playtime with my kids, as well.
Don’t get me wrong, I love hanging out with my children at home. And I feel more at ease knowing what they’re doing and that I’m the one with them. However, over time, getting endless servings of imaginary food or following a script with how you talk to a toy dolphin can get more exhausting than diaper changing every 2 am.
You’re Not a Bad Mom, You’re Just Bad at Playing with Your Kids
The last sentence seems too harsh, but yes, you’re just bad at playing with your kids. This doesn’t mean that you don’t care or love your children though. You just can’t last a whole day of agreeing to random conversations while getting dictated by your child that “you’re not doing it right.”
The thought of apologizing to a teddy and sipping through an empty cup the size of a shot glass makes you want to shoot yourself towards the moon. But you don’t have to feel guilty because you are not alone. You don’t have to love playtimes the same way as much as you love your kids. However, playing with children, whether it’s role-playing or crawling around the floor are important parts of their development.
As mentioned by this useful source, something as simple as a play kitchen keeps children engaged. They are going to be more inspired to get creative and imaginative. And most of the time, these games are what allow us parents to notice our child’s potential.
To make sure you don’t end up throwing your child’s doll across the room, here are the tips that worked for me to actually enjoy play time.
Set a Time Limit
You might not hate these playtimes as much if you do them in limited doses. For example, if you’re already tired throughout the day, you can’t expect yourself to love crawling around the floor with a tiara on at 6:30 pm.
I noticed that during the days where I don’t feel overwhelmed by work, being with my daughter in the play kitchen is not that bad. In a way, it also warms my heart to see her copying how her mommy cooks in the kitchen where she’s not allowed yet.
You can also set a definite time limit. For example, both my kids understand that mommy has to do other things after 10 minutes. This gives them enough time to know that I am not ignoring them, but it’s also just enough for me to not lose my sanity.
I do these timed playtimes and then go and take a nap, prepare dinner, or get groceries. This is great for managing time, and you won’t have to feel too drained because the play pretend seems like it will never end. And over time, you don’t even have to wait for the whole time limit once you’ve helped your kids started playing as well!
Lastly, having a definite schedule for playtime can prevent your children from being extra fussy. They don’t have to wait long enough until they’re cranky and bored because they know your set time for playing. You can even fit playtime into your schedule, so you can do other tasks done without much pressure.
Try Other Alternatives of Playing
Another thing that you can do is suggest other choices for your children. Make the list yourself so that whichever your kids pick, you’ll still like the activity. If role-playing with stuffed animals is not for you, maybe your kids are old enough to try other games and activities.
My children happen to enjoy board games and storybooks, as well. Of course, you should choose games that are age-appropriate, so they can quickly grasp the concept. But we all know what you’re going to do anyway, and you’ll let them win. We all did that.
With story books, they can do the role-playing themselves, and thankfully, they are contented with their mom as the narrator. I get to teach them how to read as well, with occasional character voice changes, but I enjoyed doing those things regardless.
If you’re the more outdoorsy type of parent, your kids might enjoy physical activities. You can play tag, go to the park, or even swim at the beach or pool. If you’re the more indoorsy type, you might enjoy doing crafts or cooking. My kids can decorate cookies and help with mixing the batter while I handle the stove and the oven for their safety.
Playdates and Social Activities are Your Best Friends
The last and probably every play-hating mom’s most powerful card to draw are playdates. Sure, you want to hone your child’s independence, but socialization is an important part of growing up. And I’m sure your child will appreciate that you’re willing to let his/her friend hanging out with him/her at your home.
Since they have the same perspectives in playing, they’ll enjoy their time together. Not to mention, this is also a chance for the adults to chat and interact among each other, as well. These playdates also allow you to get to know your child’s friends and their families. And over time, the bond that you’ll form with other people is going to be important as your kids grow up together.
But what if your child does not have a lot of friends yet? Perhaps your little one is too young, or you don’t know someone with a child close to your kid’s age. What I like to do is to find local activities among our neighborhood. These include storytelling in the community library or summer activities where you can enroll your kids. Some of my child’s friends are the ones she met in ballet class. It’s also a bonus that I get along well with the other parents who I’ve gotten to know every time I’m picking my daughter in class.
The park is also a nice place to get to know other kids and their parents. And in some places, there are even parent organizations that you can join to get to know other people and their kids.