It was late and way past Alex’s bedtime. I was tired and ready for bed myself. But, we had to go get groceries. After all, my boys knew how to eat! By the time we pulled into the garage, it was raining hard outside. I gave Alex the keys and asked him to start getting the groceries. When I came back out, he was standing in the rain. The trunk was still shut. Playfully, he dangled the keys in front of me.
At that moment, I had a choice. I could get frustrated, get back my keys, put the groceries up and put him to bed.
Or, I could chase that kid into the rain and play with him.
I chose the latter. We played in the rain until we were thoroughly soaked, then we put the groceries up and got ready for bed. There was lots of laughter that night! And jokes! And smiles! All because I chose to act silly and get really wet!
As single moms, we can get tired. Like so tired, you can hardly see straight. Too tired to even think. When many times, when our kids are ready to play, we’re ready for bed! No one would blame us for bypassing the games and just chilling on the couch, while the kids played in another room.
Playing is part of childhood; and for us to be part of children’s lives, we need to play as well!
Playing looks different for all of us. It could mean staying up late with a Monopoly game. Or maybe making cookies at 10:00 at night, because there’s a living room full of teenage boys who want a snack. It’s laying outside on a trampoline to watch the stars. It’s talking about a racing game on the Playstation or watching yet another Marvel movie! And if you have more than one child, it could be all of the above on the same night!
Psychologist say play is important for children. It helps to teach them how to act. It gives them social skills and self-confidence. It helps to train them for real-life situations. But, beyond the studies and the big words, the more important thing is to give our children a chance to laugh with us. Playing gives us insight into our children’s lives. Plus, kids need that bonding time with you Mom!
I have three amazing boys. And, they are so very different! I have a kid who’s good at putting things together and he loves video games. Ever talk past midnight about a racing game? I have! My middle kid loves reading and acting and watching movies. Our fun was discussing the books he read and watching the movies to see if they followed the book. My youngest is my most active child and my most scholastic. Fun for him is rock climbing at a local park, while talking about colleges. But, I never would have known these things, if I hadn’t been willing to get onto their level and play with them.
But, you know what else you’re doing? Making memories! When we play another game of checkers, when we play tag or go to the playground, we are making memories that will be remembered for a lifetime. Our children may not remember the exact activity, but they will remember the laughter. They will remember how they felt. They’ll remember that mom was happy and fun to be around.
Momma’s get right into the center of your child’s world. Set aside time to play games, to joke around, to enjoy activities together. Experiment with different things to see what clicks with your child. Rent funny movies. Bake together. Let them throw a party and invite their friends. Go for a hike. Plan a vacation together. Play board games. You’ll be surprised by how much you learn about your children, just by goofing off and having fun!
And next time it rains, you be the first one outside, splashing in the puddles and getting all wet!
Daring Adventures of Single Parenthood, A Devotional. https://www.gwendolynirene.com/books/