Q: Our family schedule is pretty crazy, and it seems like we’re all just getting busier. We’re trying to make changes, but meanwhile I’m concerned about staying connected with our children in what little “free time” we have. What do you suggest?
A: Parenting can certainly be challenging, and it’s easy to let the serious business fill every hollow. But sometimes you just have to know when to be playful.
Let us share with you an example. Dad came home from work one day just as his boys came dragging into the house from the garden. Troy was limping and Trent had a black and blue mark emerging on his chin. “What happened?” Dad asked. Troy said, “Don’t jump on the trampoline with mum. She landed on my ankle.” Then Trent said, “Her knee cracked me right in the jaw.”
Obviously, that playtime didn’t go so well, but, believe it or not, it did have a positive outcome. First, it was a moment we all still laugh about. But more importantly, Mum’s playfulness drew the boys closer to her. The bum ankle and sore jaw are long forgotten, but the boys will always remember their mum taking time out of her busy schedule to play with them.
That’s a great reminder for every parent. The pressures of adult life can make us a little too serious sometimes. Be playful. Play board games, wrestle on the floor, throw the ball around. Find something your children like to do and join them. It’ll deepen your relationship with them, and they’ll see you as more than a disciplinarian or someone who cooks dinner and does the laundry. They’ll see you as someone who really enjoys spending time with them whenever you can. And to a child, that equals feeling loved.
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