For us moms it is easy to feel guilty about “letting everything go” to just play with our kids. Mother’s Day is tomorrow, May 13 (shouldn’t everyday be Mother’s Day?). Here is my everyday advice to dads and other family members. Surprise us moms by taking care of the laundry, going to the grocery store, planning snacks and meals for the kids and having take-out for dinner (no dishes!) or planning dinner and taking care of the dishes—so us moms can really play with the kids without feeling guilty.
Janice O’Donnell, the Executive Director of the Providence Children’s Museum asks a great question to all of us moms. Did you play with your kids today? Read what she says about how to make everyday more fun with our kids.
Moms at Play
By Janice O’Donnell, Executive Director
Did you play with your kids today?
Oh I know, you make sure their clothes are presentable and that they eat their dinner, that they get to school on time and their homework done. You keep track of soccer practice schedules, birthday party invitations and scout meetings. You referee arguments, kiss skinned knees and enforce bedtime. You’re Mom and -whether you have one child or six, a demanding career or a part-time job, a partner who pitches in or not so much — you’re busy. The last thing I want to do is add one more thing to your to-do list. So when I urge that you play with your kids, it’s not in addition — it’s instead of.
Providence Children’s Museum recently created a booklet called “Play With Your Kids! A How-To, Why-To Guide for Parents.” The booklet presents a number of suggestions for using play to circumvent those irritating problems of daily life with kids, but makes clear the main goal of playing together is to make each other laugh — really laugh. Laughing and playing with your kids is not only good for you and for them, it is actually useful. And it’s fun!
For example, use a getting-dressed race to move things along in the morning. Challenge your child, “I bet I can get my socks on before you get your socks on.” As she starts to put her socks on, discover yours are mismatched. “Oh no,” you say as you hop around on one foot, “Where’s my other sock? She’s winning!” Okay, she won on the socks, but tell her you’re going to get your shoes on first. Then put them on the wrong feet. Make it so much fun she forgets to dilly-dally and you forget to be irritated.
Try being a sports announcer to keep them focused on getting their chores done or finishing dinner. “This is an exciting moment, sports fans. If Luis eats all his beans, he’ll win the World Championship! He only has three more bits to go. Can he do it? Amazing! Luis has eaten all of his beans! He’s the new World Champion Bean Eater!”
Just remember to put aside that busy serious mom-role sometimes, get silly and play with your kids. Have a fun Mother’s Day!
Providence Children’s Museum – 100 South Street, Providence, RI. 401-273-5437 (KIDS)
Play With Your Kids! A How-To, Why-To Guide for Parents is available at the Gift Shop at Providence Children’s Museum or by contacting the Museum.