Since the start of the year, my daughter, Sophie, has been asking me to play with her as soon as we get home from work. I think it has to do with her anxiety about entering primary one in a year’s time (the age where formal studies start in Singapore). The teachers in her childcare have been telling her that she’ll have no time to play because she’ll have homework from school.
Some days, I’m glad to put down everything and play with her. But on other days, I’ll tell her to play on her own so that I can get down to the household chores. And on one of those days, when I was tired and frustrated after a full-day’s work, I lashed out at her for not being able to play independently when I have a hundred-and-one chores to see to, only to have her respond in tears.
When I questioned why she was so upset, she told me in between sobs that all children like to play and she really would like mummy to play with her.
A missed opportunity to play with your child, is a missed opportunity to enter their world and bond with them.
I can sense that my daughter’s request to play with her is really her way of saying:
“I want to spend time with you mummy”
“I want to do things with you daddy”
“I want you to be beside me”
While I may have my own agenda of what bonding with my daughter means, taking her to the playground, playing Lego, doing craft work, cooking pancakes together, her request is simply to put down what I’m doing and play with her.
And how can I allow her childhood to slip by without being a part of it? After all, we may not always have these moments:
- when our child still wants to play hide and seek with us
- our child asks for yet another bedtime story
- they hug us with all their might to show that they really really really love us
- they tickle us with the silliest things they say and infect us with their contagious laughter till our belly aches
- their little hands reach for ours looking for security in the middle of the night
- they plant a kiss on our cheeks and whisper, I love you mummy, for no reason at all; which melts us over and over again
The next time your child asks you to put down what you’re busy with so you can come play with her, don’t turn her down. A missed opportunity to play with your child, is a chance missed to enter her world and create special memories together.
What are some of the ways you take time out of your schedule to spend quality time playing with your child?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our contributor in Singapore, Susan Koh.
The images used in this post are attributed to the author.
In my home, we have a room that my sons, ages 4 and 8 years old, refer to as “The Magic Room.” It’s probably not what you are thinking. It’s our formal dining room. Truth be told, we didn’t use the room all that much for eating, as we have a kitchen table steps away from where I prepare meals. Still, we occasionally used this formal eating space. It was a treat to gather there for holidays and any other time that a special meal seemed in order. This all changed when my husband introduced my older son to the game Magic, The Gathering. (more…)
It happens every night when I lay my head on the pillow. I replay many of the day’s events back over in my mind. “Was I good friend, wife, sister, daughter, etc.? Was I good mother to my children? Did I set a good example?”
However, the events which have been playing over in my mind more and more frequently are the times I am not sure if I really listened to my children. “What was it my daughter was telling me about a friend of hers at school as I was hurriedly sending a text to my friend? What was my son showing me that he learned on his new video game as I nodded and pretended to see him play it while I sent an email?”
I know we all get caught up in this thing called life, but are we really present for our children?
At any one minute during the day, I feel like I have a laundry list of things to get done. A lot of times, I find myself sitting listening to my daughter read, and I am making a mental list in my mind of what I need to get from the grocery store. When I’m driving the kids to school, and they are in the backseat laughing, I am thinking of the things I need to get done that day while they are in school. What were they laughing about? I don’t know because I wasn’t really listening. And, that makes me a little sad.
I know one day, I’ll look in my rear-view mirror and they will be in junior high and then high school and they won’t be my little children anymore.
I have read so many articles and talked to so many friends about our kids being able to pay attention to what we, as parents, say. We have talked and discussed how too much time on electronics isn’t good for their attention. What about us as parents? It became crystal clear to me a few weeks ago when I took my children to the park. My son was on the swing, and I received a text from a friend. I was replying to her text while my son was saying something to me and I remember nodding and saying “Okay.” It turns out that he asked me if I would pay him a quarter for every time he jumped off the swing. You can imagine how surprised I was when he told me I had to pay him $4.50 for jumping 18 times!!!
These past few weeks, I have been thinking about how I have approached mothering, and I think I had something wrong. For some of you this may not be earth shattering, but for me it was ground breaking. And here it is…I will never be done with a grocery list, laundry list, cleaning, cooking, etc. There will always be broken things which need fixing and plants needing to be watered.
I was approaching things in my mind as things to check off like a list. I was thinking of my days as a destination, and that just isn’t how life is. In my head I thought if I get that grocery list done, then it is complete. If I finish this load of laundry, then it is done. But, the truth is, neither of those tasks are ever done, and unfortunately, I feel that I have wasted some of my precious time with my children using that approach.
I have started to look at my life as a journey and to try to enjoy it more along the way.
Coming to this realization has freed me to sit with my daughter and just listen to her read for 20 minutes without my phone right next to me. I don’t have to answer texts right away. I am able to watch my son play his new video game and show me his new trick because the laundry will always pile up, and I can get to it after I take 10 minutes to listen to him. I am waking up 10 minutes earlier to get lunches packed so I can talk to my kids in the morning while they are eating breakfast. I am taking a little of the pressure off myself to get everything done. I am getting most things done, and the things I don’t get to can wait until tomorrow if it means I can have some extra special moments with my kids.
I have found that slowing down my mind and my “to-do” list have made me a bit more calm, and in turn, it has helped me to be in the moment with my kids. Every night, we have dinner together and there is a “no toy and no electronics rule” at the table. It’s a time for our family to really listen to each other and make sure that we have a few minutes to “check in” all together as a family.
The one thing that won’t always be there are my 5 and 8 year olds. They are only like that for one year and then they just keep growing and growing and there isn’t anything I can do about it. As I look at them in my rear-view mirror, I want to know that I have really enjoyed them and not regret not spending precious time with them.
Do you have a way to really be “in the moment” with your children?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Meredith. You can check out Meredith’s life in Nigeria and her transition back on her blog at www.wefoundhappiness.blogspot.com.
Photo credit to the author.
In the Jewish religion, Saturdays are the Sabbath. Saturday is the “7th day”, the day of rest, to relax and spend quality time with family and friends. Not working or stressing – you can do that the other 6 days of the week. 🙂
I am not very religious, but I do believe that it is important to have quality time together, time to enjoy being together as a family. I enjoy taking the kids to the children’s services at the synagogue and spending time within the community there. But on Saturday a few weeks ago I managed to overbook us, and I really wanted to do all of it! (more…)
We share a lot of parenting advice on World Moms Blog. However, how happy we are at home can have a great effect on our children. If you have a partner, today I’m focusing on how we can strengthen those relationships!
Love is an emotion that we need and seek since our first minute on earth. Children have basic emotional needs that must be met if they are to be emotionally stable. They feel their value and self esteem when they are loved and appreciated.
Even adults need to feel loved to continue their lives normally and to feel happy and fulfilled. The book “The 5 Love languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” by Garry Chapman is about how to express our love in relationships and I would like to share some ideas of the book with you. This book has totally changed the lives of many couples who were struggling in their relationships.
The author is a marriage counselor and from his 30 years experience in the field of marriage counseling he noticed that there are 5 common ways of expressing love – which he named “love languages”. As people speaking different languages cannot interconnect and build strong relationships, individuals who are not aware of their love language or their partner’s love language will not be able to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship. So people who are in relationships need to know their partner’s love language to meet their need of love. (more…)