Playing with our child/children:
1.Gives us opportunity to train our children in how to play well together
It gives us opportunity to train our children in how to play well and problem solve together. This is particularly true for my one and three-year-old. I let them guide the play, while I guide the interactions.
2. Gives us opportunity to role-play expected behaviors
It gives us opportunity to role-play manners and character qualities we expect to see in them.
3. Builds relationship
It builds relationship between us and our children and prepares hearts to receive our instruction.
4. Fills their love tanks
When we give our children our time, they simply feel loved.
5. Sets the tone for the rest of the day (or morning, afternoon, evening).
When our children feel loved and nourished, they're more likely to play well on their own and to want to please us and obey, and the rest of the day (or morning...) goes so much smoother.
6. Forces us to slow down and lighten up a little
It forces us to lighten up and set aside our adult concerns and demands for a short time. (I know how difficult it can be to be mentally present, however, giving ourselves a general time frame and just forming the habit will help in doing this.)
7. Provides opportunity for us to learn about our children
It provides opportunity for us to learn about our children and their hearts.
How they play may say a lot about how they see the world or how they feel.
8. Teaches us how to speak their language
How our children play teaches us how to speak to them and connect with them using their lingo.
9. Affirms them
It is affirming to our children when we allow them to guide the play rather than mom and dad calling the shots all of the time.
10. Allows us to be child-like
It gets us on their level remembering, too, that this is the spirit of our character that enters the kingdom. Why not engage and become more like "such as these?"
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14Generally speaking, if my children are playing well together or on their own and have their creative juices flowing, I don't mess with it. However, I try to be assiduous in responding to a request to play, even if I am in the middle of something. It may be a sword fight with one or a soccer game outdoors with another. It might be playing princesses or a game of chess. It might be for an hour or just ten minutes (usually ten minutes in pretend play!).
I can't say I always jump for joy at the request, but then there are times when I surprise myself! I think it's the likelihood, that if we've made the intentional decision in advance not to turn down a reasonable request to engage our children through play, we'll do it.
All in all, it's not easy. We have to be willing to make it a practice. Slow down, lighten up and go have a little fun...and while we're at it, fill a love tank with our time. And doesn't that make it all worth it?
How about you? Do you make time to play with your children and, if so, what benefits have you found through it?
I'll be focusing on intentional living over the next weeks. I hope you'll join the conversation so that, together, we can persevere in our challenges and encourage one another!
Sharing with Finding Heaven, A Pause on the Path, Seedlings in Stone, The Wellspring, and The Better Mom