When I was a new mom, one of my favorite things to do was go toy shopping. I had huge long wish lists of things that I wanted to buy my kids. When I heard another mom say that she hated toys and wanted to get rid of them all because they were just always everywhere, I was shocked.

How could anyone not like toys?

Kids playing

But I found that playing with toys as a parent wasn’t nearly as fun as playing with them as a child had been and after a few years I gradually lost interest. I still love buying toys, even if I’m much pickier about what I’ll bring into my house but sitting down and actually playing with toys just isn’t really my thing.

And that’s a problem. I know it is. We’ve all heard that play is a child’s work. I firmly believe that. I also firmly believe that kids need to see us making time for the things that are important to them. All too often though, I hear myself responding to my kids’ requests that I play with them with, “in a minute” or “just let me finish one more thing”.

My 5 year old yelled at me once and said, “that just means no”.

I know the days when my kids actually WANT to play with me are numbered so I’m making a resolution to turn over a new leaf. I may not enjoy playing toys and board games are on par with going to the dentist as far as I’m concerned but I want my kids to see me making time for their interests and putting aside my to-do list to make time for them.

Here’s how I’m making play a priority:

Limit the Toy Clutter – I seriously CAN NOT play if there is a mess to clean up. It distracts me to the point that I can’t focus on anything else. By making more of an effort to keep the clutter under control and having a clean play space, I’m able to focus on the things that are really important – my kids.

 Set a Daily Play Goal – I’m big on to-do lists. If it isn’t written down it just doesn’t get done. I keep all the important things on my list so I’m adding playtime with my kids. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, my kids love having some individual and undivided attention.

Find Toys I Like – I have mostly boys and seriously, action figures just don’t do it for me but I LOVE air hockey and word puzzles. If I start with the things that we both enjoy I can be more engaged in play and my kids can tell the difference.

 

What do you do to make playing with your kids a priority? 

About 

Rachel is a former teacher and the owner of BusyMommyMedia.com, where she writes about simple solutions for a busy life. As the mother of 6 incredibly different kids, including newborn twins, she's just about seen it all . . . when she isn't too sleep deprived to notice.

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4 Responses to Does it make me a bad mom if I don’t like to play with toys?

  1. I have a very hard time playing with toys as well. I usually start and then end up sneaking away to go fold laundry, check email or start organizing their room. I have found that i like card games, board games and puzzles so that is what we play together. I loved these tips!

  2. jillsimonian says:

    I love this! NO! You are not a bad mom! And, your intention to set aside specific times will make everyone happier I think… great tip! But here’s a trick that I’ve come up with when I DO need to fold laundry before playing with toys: I have my toddler and 8-month old stand with me by the dryer, and I ask my toddler who each piece of clean laundry belongs to before I fold it (she actually loves this game). Sneaky, I know… but sometimes you just gotta get work done around the house. haha!!! Not sure if your kids are little enough to go for this baloney game though? I know my days are numbered before my 2-year old calls me on my shenanigans. :)

    • Yea, unfortunately my youngest (other than the baby) is 5 and isn’t easily fooled anymore. I need to make more of an effort though because my oldest is 9 1/2 and I doubt he’s even going to want to play with me for much longer unless we both make it a habit.

      I wish I’d thought of that idea when my kids were younger though. We try and make cleanup time fun but I tend to want to just do that all the time instead of sitting down and really playing.

  3. [...] a better mom when I’m rested. It’s already established that playing is not second nature to me. I have to work at it. When I’m tired, it just doesn’t happen. Check that, when it does happen, [...]

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