Last night my family and I played together! It was satisfying, and interesting how we all found a meaningful role to play, resonating with our unique personalities…
I was the mama bird and my body made a nest on the couch. Our 4 yr old and 6 yr old sons were the birds hiding in the nest. Daddy was a predator trying to get the birds, in a silly way. He could never really keep the birds once he got them because I taught them how to wrestle and fight.
Our 6 yr old was the brave big brother protecting our 4 yr old. That seemed to satisfy both of them immensely. I would say, “Go, protect your brother!”. He loved being the strongest.
My youngest son likes curling up and being in safe little spots. I was basically setting the scenario for everyone (I laid there just talking mostly – ha ha). My husband really worked the hardest trying to get birds and being defeated by their awesome kick and punch moves.
They were pretty rough with their daddy, but he laughed a lot so I figure it was good for him to play that rigorously. I was encouraging them a lot saying, “I taught them how to fight!”, and asking for high fives.
The youngest bird started attacking and then would fling himself deftly back into the nest to cuddle. He would tease daddy, “Na na na boo boo” in a goofy way. My husband obligingly pursued getting the bird out of the nest in a goofy way. I noticed how much it made our 4 yr old laugh and I encouraged my husband to continue. I whispered, “Follow the giggles!” Lots of good laughter all around.
I would feed my sons pretend snacks in the middle of fighting – just for fun. Sometimes I threw a few pretend punches or had to rescue a bird, but mostly I just directed the play – of course meeting everyone where they were at. “Oh yeah!” “Get him!” “That’s my son!” “Hey, careful, be gentle.”
I feel pleased with our spontaneous play. Feeling grateful for these sweet people and for what my husband and I create in our family. It’s not like we always remember do to this, so when it happens I really want to acknowledge and celebrate it!
I have been reflecting lately on how to create playfulness in family life. How can we create it more? How is it possible we are even playful parents at all, considering all the stresses and pressures in life these days for parents?
I really want to understand the factors because I want to support parents to arrange their internal and external lives so that playfulness and joy reign.
Because the simple truth is that the language of childhood is play, and the natural state of our spirit is joyful. So when we as parents choose playfulness and communicate through play – we will be speaking the language our children prefer to communicate in.
And therefore we will be creating a healing, meaningful, win/win for ourselves as parents. Plus it’s fun!
Parents forget to tap into playfulness. I feel empathy and sympathy about why we don’t go there as often as would benefit us. There are factors. Obstacles. Considerations to take into account.
I want to lovingly learn about these considerations and creatively handle them in my life. I want that for you too, because on the other side of stress, to-dos, and busyness is the relationships we REALLY want with our children. Playful, joyful, thriving, loving relationships that we get to joyfully cultivate.
I don’t believe parents are powerless to their life situations. It would be a disservice to go along with the notion that any parent is in a completely helpless or hopeless situation. There’s always room for growing into who you want to be.
I’m making a running list of the considerations on the path to more playfulness in family life. Here it is. If you have something to add, I’d love to hear.
- Reducing stress
- Simple living
- Slowing down
- Taking care of ourselves
- Nourishing our spiritual life
- Choosing to play
- Getting support
- Handling anxiety/our own emotions
- Integrating our childhood experiences around play
- Surrender/tapping in
I’m deeply in this question and feel like it’s research time!
Listen guys, one more thing. I’m ready to coach and consult with parents who are struggling to experience the play and joy they want. I feel this is my gift to offer the world. I’m on fire dreaming of supporting you. If you have a scenario you want to run by me, send me a message. Let’s chat. I’m excited to connect.
PS My 6 yr old woke up this morning saying, “I want to play the nest game where we attack you dad.” Ha ha, love that!