Encouraging play

When I had my first child, it was a bit of an adjustment ~ being home all day. I was used to going out to work everyday, so I would get cabin fever. I’d stop by at my mom’s, or I’d go shopping. I was finding so many deals it was worth it ;). Of course, as Katrina got older it wasn’t so much fun. Toddlers and shopping do not mix. So there I would be, desperately shaking out more fishies or cheerios on her stroller tray to buy myself five more minutes before the melt down began. When number two arrived around Katrina’s second birthday, I realized the lunacy of going out for recreational shopping with two little kids.

Now I’m in the toddler stage again, and my older three are in school everyday. But I’m not reverting to past habits. I am content to stay at home and get some necessary tasks done. More importantly I’ve consciously decided to stay home so that Annika can have a chance for free and uninterrupted play.

Like most children, she is happiest in the morning and will entertain herself for an hour or more, playing with her “babies” and her kitchen. I work nearby, usually ironing and folding laundry, and she happily plays with all her toys. I’ve never been one for spending lots of time playing with my kids.  I prefer to include them in my tasks when they need attention.  I think it’s a really great skill for children to learn how to play on their own, without direction or constant intervention.  This doesn’t mean I’m not interacting with her;  she comes and shows me her baby, I comment to her how well she wrapped the baby up, and how she likes baking, etc.   We also share coffee time together every morning.

I encourage her play by keeping her toys close at hand.  Her kitchen is one step down from my kitchen (in our living room).  Her dolls and doll carriage and doll bed are also there.  I know it doesn’t look good with my decor, but this is her house too, and little kids like to play near their parents.  If her toys were in the playroom in the basement, she would not play with them.  The idea of separate, rigid functions assigned to rooms is silly.  Life stages change, needs change and we need to be flexible in our family life.  One day I might have a neat, well decorated living room, but for now I’m happy with kids who like to play nearby.

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Baking cookies

Baking cookies

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Too heavy,  Mom!

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Into the oven

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Lots of dishes

How do you encourage your children to play?

~ Lora

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About Lora

I am a 40 something wife to my patient and talented husband Scott, Mom to my five children (from toddler to teen) and oldest sister to eight siblings. I am interested in too many things, love to read everything around me, and have developed a strong interest in design and renovation along with my husband. I am conservative, Christian, and by the grace of God, trying to find His way through the ups and downs of my life.
This entry was posted in child's play, family, kids, parenting, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Encouraging play

  1. coletrain77 says:

    Annie is such a doll, Lora! Such cute pictures of her!

  2. Doreen says:

    I do the same thing as you do with toys nearby. I also tell the older kids WHAT to play when they’re wandering around the house doing nothing but looking for someone to bother. (Let’s get out the lego, or play-doh, a puzzle, paint a picture for someone…or go downstairs/outside and bike off some energy!), and then get them started playing. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”! In the classroom, we had three rules: Raise your hand and wait for permission to speak; Respect others and their property; Be busy with something constructive at all times. Students could “relax” with a book or puzzle, colouring, finish homework, do a bonus activity, or play a quiet game…but had to be do something. This was easy to enforce as the alternative was a spelling words/memory work worksheet to be completed for the teacher 🙂

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