Maybe you’re under stress at work, or you just feel self-conscious and silly about playing dress-up or tea party.
Even if you don’t like to “play” per se, there are other ways to carve out quality time that put your child front and center and strengthens your bond.
Focus on quality time instead of play time
Okay, so maybe getting down on all fours and acting like a cat is just not your thing. Stop beating yourself up about it. Set aside quality time, particularly on weekends and holidays, to visit the beach, an amusement park, aquariums, fairs, and festivals. Remember that childhood is a time of wonderful discovery, and exposing your little ones to new experiences will greatly enrich their lives. And don’t be afraid to get interactive! Ride the carousel together, make a sand castle at the beach, and try every flavor of cotton candy at the fair.
You can even create quality time around your strengths. Are you creative? Have an art day with your little one, where you both paint, color or draw. Do you enjoy music? Crank up some tunes and dance in the living room. Do you find solace in nature? Collect leaves, pick blueberries, or go horseback riding on a farm. The possibilities are endless.
Adapt and try new things
Okay, so sometimes you truly dread the whole “let’s play!” thing. Never fear. Just learn how to stretch yourself a bit. Life is about adapting to change. You now have a child. Learn how to connect with them at their level. The world of a child is one of imagination, discovery, and dramatic play. Venture out of your comfort zone, even if it’s only for 15 minutes every other day. Even this effort will have far-reaching effects.
Studies show that play time can increase the bonds and connections between mother and child. Spending quality time with your child and “tuning in” to her feelings and emotions makes her feel valued, safe, and loved. It also creates emotional intimacy. So, break the ice with a short pillow fight, a tea party, or a game of “red light, green light” out in the yard.
Remember that spending quality time in the earlier years can lay the foundation for a close relationship that is built on trust, mutual respect…..and love.