Go Ahead, Play That Game

The older my children get, the more independent they are.  I remember the days when I couldn’t wait for them to be able to do certain things on their own.  Now I miss the days when little hands reached up and needed me to help them do the smallest of tasks.  How quickly a perspective can change.

I have loved each stage of their young lives, and know that I have many more to look forward to, as they are only 8 and 11.  Recently, however, I realized that I was falling into a trap that I always thought I wouldn’t.  I was missing opportunities to play with my children.

Playtime changes for children as they grow up, but I know it is still important.  I have always played games with my kids, but this summer it hit me that I wasn’t doing it as often as I would have thought or liked.  My son and daughter were always busy doing something on their own, whether it was reading, helping with household responsibilities, watching a movie, or playing independently.  All of this is good, but I started missing those times when we played “house” and built buildings, or just enjoyed a good game of Candyland.  It sounds like my children are all grown and I have missed this window.  I know that isn’t the case.  I think I just had a gentle inner nudge to keep playtime in our lives, even though my children are growing up and what play looks like to them may be changing. I think children may sometimes feel like they are too old to play, or it isn’t cool anymore.  Maybe a parent offering to play with them gives them “permission” to play.

I know that spending time playing with my children, whether it is playing a game of Scrabble, bringing out the Kapla blocks (which are cool for even 40+ year olds), doing Mad Libs, or playing charades, is a good thing.  I wouldn’t even rule out playing “babies” and “house”  with my youngest.   It opens the window for conversation and helps secure a bond that they will hopefully carry with them for life.  Sounds like a lot for just a little playtime, but I do feel like it is a valuable piece of the parenting puzzle that shouldn’t be overlooked as children grow up.  We are never to old to play, and there isn’t a price that can be put on that connection time in the big picture of family.

1 Comment

Filed under Parenting, Something to think about

One response to “Go Ahead, Play That Game

  1. A timely reminder. My kids are 7 and 10, very similar ages, and I’m constantly amazed by the lovely childlike ability to play they have.

    Thanks for this lovely post.

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