As parents, we know we need to discipline, guide and nurture our kids. However, more than once I have forgotten how playing together for just the sake of it is so much fun and does you good. It not only helps you bond, but in many ways it helps release your inner child and that by itself brings you closer to your kids.
Sometimes I am so busy being the responsible adult, that I forget to let loose, especially when I am stressed out. The other day after a grueling week spent traveling, writing and driving them from one activity to another, my kids made me just relax a bit and forget for a while all the to-do’s on my list. They said I “had” to play with them because I needed to have some fun. Plus, it was a weekend, so no excuses were allowed. It was actually funny to see them explain to me that watching them play did not count and that I actually had to participate. I was ashamed to realize that my life has gotten so hectic that I thought it didn’t matter if I was next to them and not really playing with them. They insisted that moms need to have fun and that I have been missing out.
They were so right. We played hide and seek and cracked up because my daughter always found me. We played Family Feud on the iPad and I got to impress my children with some fancy words I knew. Then my son powered up the Xbox and the real games began.
First, my daughter wanted to play Just Dance. She’s the official family champion and I haven’t worked out in the longest time, so I was a bit weary. Then the music started and I forgot about how out of shape I am, how many posts I am supposed to write this week, what to prepare for dinner, how embarrassed my Latina friends would be to see how stiff my moves were and how silly I obviously looked while trying to imitate the dance instructor on the TV screen. I simply focused on the moment. On doing something with my daughter. On having fun together as a family. I gave my little girl a run for her money and I honestly want to play more often with her. Maybe it will even qualify as a workout and I can kill two birds with one stone!
Then we decided to try out the new Disney Infinity. If you think it’s for little kids, you are SO wrong. It’s addictive! The first step was to use the Play Set mode, where every world is self-contained and dependent upon the Disney-Pixar characters in play. The real fun began with the Toy Box mode, where using any of the unlocked items from the Play Set, you can create what your imagination can think of. But what really got me was the ability to become your favorite Disney characters on screen and be a hero.
We lost track of time. I remembered how when I was younger I wasn’t a slave to my daily schedule, and I realized how little I have played just for fun in the past few months. I’ve been treating playing with my kids as a luxury instead of realizing it’s a necessity. I was wrong in thinking only they need unstructured fun. Moms and dads also need it, and if they can enjoy it with their children, it’s a win-win situation for all. In the beginning I felt terrible for all the times I have been a spectator while they play, just keeping an eye on them while I check email, update my social media or write. They are not the ones who have missed out. It is me. But now that I have realized what I was doing, I have really made an effort to enjoy the moment, and relax more by not doing anything productive while I am with my kids during playtime. It’s as if I was a child again with no major responsibilities to worry about and it’s done me a ton of good. The best part is remembering that parenting can also be fun. It should be, but every day we face a different challenge that tends to overshadow all the fun.
When was the last time you actually played with your kids instead of merely supervised them?
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