Categories

“I hate playing games with my kids.” By Shelley Abreu for Babble.com.

“You be Ariel, and I’ll be Prince Eric,” instructs my three-year old daughter Julia. Then she dives down into the pretend ocean that is our kitchen floor and beckons me to save her. I scoop her in my arms, and we swim safely to “Ariel’s Grotto.” I attempt to return to chopping vegetables, but she begins the game again. I try to get out of it. “Ariel has to cook up some crabs for Prince Eric’s supper,” I say. But she’s onto me. “Ariel doesn’t cook the supper,” she retorts.It’s not the first time I’ve dodged Julia’s games today. After a short stint playing a mind-numbing game of Dora The Explorer Candyland, I fake a bathroom emergency. When I come out, I casually begin folding laundry. When Julia calls me back to the game, I tell her I’ll come back soon. I’m lying.

Sometimes I’m not even that suave about averting playtime with Julia. After a few laps around the house playing Tag, I simply run away mid-lap. For a moment it delights her when she realizes I’m missing. She’s thinks I’ve turned it into a game of Hide and Seek, but after a few minutes she begs me to return. Then I use my arsenal of verbal excuses, including: I need to get the house picked up and make a phone call. When she whines, I urge her to play with her younger sister, Elise, who is old enough to toddle her way through a round of any running game. And that’s what siblings are for, right?

I’m not a complete failure at playing. I’m content to do puzzles, and I’ll take time-out from any adult activity to read a book. I’m a musician, which means anything musical is pretty much okay with me. I’ll also last a good while at “I Spy” during walks through our neighborhood. But generally speaking, I hate playing with my kids. Games of “Horsey” – in which I’m asked to giddy-up through our yard – or “Payer,” where we use a toy cash register to enact pretend transactions – are enough to make me lose my mind. Of all the negatives that parenting has brought – sleep-deprivation, a constantly messy house, never a moment to myself – it’s the playing that I hate the most.

And yet, read any mainstream parenting magazine today, and you’re made to believe that playing with your children is essential to their well-being. I recently read “Fidgety Kids: 10 Fun Games You Can Play in an Instant.” The article suggests I pass the time waiting at the pediatrician’s office by using the exam table paper to draw a village. It’s not that I can’t appreciate the inventiveness of this crafty game, but truthfully, I’d rather read a magazine and let my kids entertain themselves with the germy toys (which, by the way, they love).

Tagged as: ,

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, profile photo and other personal information you make public on Facebook (e.g., school, work, current city, age) will appear with your comment. Learn More.