Parenting: Play time with the kids

December 29, 2010

My first: get on the floor and play with the kids. So often, I feel like I'm "managing" the kids and the house instead of playing with them. As you probably know, that's a full time job! There will always be dishes to wash, laundry to fold, and toys to put away. This year, I'm going to take the time to play with the kids.

Last night, I was exhausted after storm coverage. Instead of going to bed, we had some nice family time with a game. We played "Elefun". I'm not going to lie, it wasn't perfect. My competitive family pushed each other out of the way and the 3-year-old cried because he didn't catch any butterflies! But, I didn't give up. We played a few times together. Then I let my son play once by himself so he could catch all the butterflies. Afterwards, I convinced the big girls to sit through a Llama Llama story so all three kids could sit while I read the same book. That may sound like a small achievement, but for me it was an important step. I put all the housework (and my sleep!) on hold and put family fun first.

I'm hoping to capture a lot more quiet, simple family moments this year. I'm happier when I feel fulfilled at work and home. It rocks me to the core when I feel that my connection with my family isn't as strong.

In an article on Parenting.com, Daniel Gilbert, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Harvard University and author of Stumbling on Happiness, shares a tip for busy moms who want to try and savor the moment.

"Just map out two or three-minute activities that you can do that day to relish that time. In the morning, for instance, instead of trying to do ten things, take your cup of coffee to the window, and sip it while your child plays in an Exersaucer. Notice what's going on. Will it change your life? No, but you'll probably feel calmer.

Gilbert also suggests taking ten seconds out of every hour to "look at what you're going from a higher place." It's a way to appreciate the wonderful child you have, even while you have a busy schedule.

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