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Yes, yes, I know. It’s hard to play with them!

I’m not just talking about the act of sitting in one place while they make up these impossible rules and expect you to toe the line. It’s bad enough that you have to be ordered around by them when they never want to listen to anything you say in the first place. Hmph! Can I hear an ‘Amen’?

No, I am referring to conscious play time when you can just unwind, let go and be a kid again and participate in the joy of being immersed in play for the sheer joy of it and nothing else. I watch my husband with Gy and it’s incredible how he can instantly transform from this ‘dad’ figure who tells her that she should behave, and become a kid teasing Gy relentlessly, playing with her until she dissolves in tears or giggles. Oh yes, there’s plenty of both.

If you’ve been following the blog or my Facebook page for a while, you’d know that Gy talks. Man, does she talk! What you see on a daily basis isn’t a patch on the amount of talking she actually does. I can actually write a book on every single thing that she says in a month. Yes, a book!

What this also tells me is that she has this insatiable desire to share her world with me. She is an only child and while there are days when she does miss having a sibling, she is mostly a very self-sufficient child. She reads (a lot!), plays by herself and keeps herself occupied.

So, there are times of the day when she just wants to spend time with me, letting her hair down and do nothing but meaningless play. And I comply. We find joy in the silliest of things: bouncing a balloon off a wall, seeing who can throw a crazy ball the farthest, sitting down to a tea party attended by teddy bears and Lego figures (who look a tad creepy!), allowing soap bubbles to catch the light of the setting sun or maybe a game of cards that shows who can win better at a game of rummy!

It’s energising, maddening, uplifting and frustrating all at once to play with a kid. I’ll admit that at times I am not wholly involved. There’s something in the back of my mind wondering if I’ve replied to that last e-mail or scheduled another blog post but I am learning to let go more these days. Because, we need to play. We do.

Why should you play with your kids? Because they need you and you need them.

Why do we need to play?

* It awakens the innocent, non-judgmental, forgiving soul that resides in the core of your being.

* It releases endorphins- those feel-good chemicals- that make you feel happier.

* It wards off depression and anxiety.

* It’s probably the best way to give thanks for being alive.

* Most of all, it makes you realise that there are some things worth making time for.

You don’t really need me to tell you Β any of this, of course. You’d know it when you make time to play.

There’s a part of me that is almost always Mom. It needs to be that way, since I have a duty towards my child. It’s my role to tell her when she goes wrong, dole out support when she wants advice or maybe just offer a hug to soothe those terrible days when she’s had a bitter fight with her best friend.

But as I watch her grow from this playful bundle of scrumptious cuteness (okay, I’m biased) into a young woman with a firm head on her shoulders, I’m reminded of the need to let go ever so often and spend more time with the child within my rigid, structured persona.

The child in us doesn’t need to stop existing. There’s no better way than play to ensure that.

How about you? Do you make time for play?
Categories: Life LessonsParenting

Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Aparna · March 9, 2016 at 1:10 am

Completely agree Shailaja.. it can be so rejuvenating to just spend time listening to the kids sometimes, though it is tough these days to stop the mind from wandering. Mindfulness is absolutely the need in this, as in most other things :).

D Biswas · March 9, 2016 at 2:24 am

I'm not a parent, Shy, but I agree with everything you've said here.

Nabanita · March 9, 2016 at 2:42 am

I guess I will when M grows up to the age where she'll pester me till I play with her. πŸ™‚

Rachna · March 9, 2016 at 2:57 am

I only play TT or badminton sometimes and board games too. My sons love chatting as well. They talk and talk. πŸ™‚ We do sit on the table and fool around quite a bit. And then we all play fetch or catch-catch with Coco. Play is fun. I wish more parents did activities outdoors too with their children.

taleoftwotomatoes · March 9, 2016 at 3:12 am

I'm not a parent yet but this is great advice. I feel warm and happy reading this and I can imagine you playing with lil' Gy. I love the snippets of your daily conversations which you share on FB. πŸ™‚

SHANAYA TALES · March 9, 2016 at 3:48 am

Yes, I do play with D. A lot. But most of those times, I am not 100% there mentally. It's something that I am working towards – quality time, and not just quantity time.

Rajlakshmi · March 9, 2016 at 4:11 am

I have beautiful memories of dad playing with us… Mostly outdoor sports.. No teddy bear or dolls.. as my siblings and I don't have much of an age gap. But frankly i don't remember mom playing… She did every single thing for us… And was this strict and feared persona… Even now i can't imagine her playing gudia gudia with us πŸ˜‰ it's like watching snape in grandma's clothes… Ok bad example… I agree with ur points as it's more needed in these times.

Me Otherwise · March 9, 2016 at 4:47 am

Playing yes's.. I try doing the crazy games too.. Sometime silly. .. My little one the other day was enacting a scene from Harry Potter by sitting on a broom… She wanted me to.join her.. Well I actually ended up doing it…

Mithila Menezes · March 9, 2016 at 6:36 am

I hardly have any memories of attending school when I was a teensy-weensy bit of a kindergartener, but I will always remember a few memories that I had of playing with my mom and sis… I guess that's one more reason why parents should play more with their kids.. Just for those beautiful memories πŸ™‚

Parul · March 9, 2016 at 9:42 am

I don't remember my parents playing with me – my brother and I had each other but then i think – as adults playing with children is the only way to let go of worries and embrace happiness πŸ™‚

Suzy · March 9, 2016 at 9:51 am

We love board games and play often. I've played endless tea party games with my daughter when she was little and endless supermarket, building and train games with my son. As a child I played a lot with my cousins, my grandparents, my parents and my aunt and uncle. Playing with children is great fun.

Darshana Suresh · March 9, 2016 at 1:41 pm

Yes! There's nothing that makes you feel more alive than to play wholeheartedly, to simply let go and feel free. I guess having playful kids brings back the child in you. In fact, I think every family should find some time off for playing!

Sid @ · March 9, 2016 at 3:49 pm

It should probably suffice to say that I never really grew up. so in fact, I think I get more excited by the fact that I can play with Rishi's toys πŸ˜›
That aside, my parents and I used to play carrom and badminton. So the memories remain fresh even now.

themoonstone · March 9, 2016 at 5:10 pm

Absolutely and we all need to let out hair down and play. Play brings a bonding like nothing else can. Especially with single kids, I think it's really important. As I said on FB, I like games and at times get more involved than my son πŸ™‚

Gowri · March 9, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Lovely post shailaja…it is blissful to play with children….there is so much joy in them that you can actually feel your worries melting away….like you said it makes you realise there are somethings worth making time for…wishing you and gy many many hours of blissful play time…

Anamika Agnihotri · March 9, 2016 at 11:48 pm

I realise I used to voluntarily play a lot with my son in the past but that is not the case these days when school is going on. He has a busy enough schedule for a 5year old leaving no time for both of us to play together. But yes playing, singing, enacting rhymes were the activities which helped me in dealing with my those depressing days.

Rekha Dhyani · March 10, 2016 at 7:49 am

“There's a part of me that is almost always Mom. It needs to be that way, since I have a duty towards my child. It's my role to tell her when she goes wrong, dole out support when she wants advice or maybe just offer a hug to soothe those terrible days when she's had a bitter fight with her best friend.”

This is me. I could so well relate to this. The little one was unwell and home yesterday. I did nothing but play with her, listen to her endless stories, draw and colour and unlimited hugs and kisses. She was up by evening. And I was content. We MUST play with the kids whenever we can.

Vasantha Vivek · March 10, 2016 at 9:03 am

I totally agree your points, Shailaja …. I play with my son, sing and dance together, enjoy music, crack silly jokes, watch comedy films and more …. Really I feel energized by him …. Great post as usual.

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 2:38 am

I'm beginning to realise that more often these days. Mindfulness is a conscious practise that leads us towards the unconscious enjoyment of life πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 2:39 am

Yes Damyanti! I know what you mean. As adults we need to make time to play with or without kids πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 2:39 am

Oh you'll love it! Trust me on this πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 2:41 am

Lots of board games here too! Gy plays more outdoor sports with V actually, tennis an d TT included. I guess I need to go out and play more too considering how much I love badminton πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 2:46 am

I am sure you can relate to it from your childhood too, Shalini πŸ™‚ Thanks for the love. She keeps me sane on most days.

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 2:52 am

Find what works for you, Shantala πŸ™‚ It's not the same for everyone πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 3:18 am

Sigh, I know right? Moms SHOULD play and not be doing every single thing. Really.

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 3:19 am

Aww how adorable! I think role play is by far my most favourite game to play πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 3:22 am

Memories are precious and indelible. Without them, where would we be? Especially as a blogger, I treasure these moments in time.

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 3:22 am

It's the best stress buster there is, out there. I recommend it for everyone πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 3:29 am

As a child I had lots of fun with my cousins too. Sadly now with fewer cousins and us being far-flung from each other it makes it difficult to set up play time with them πŸ™

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 3:30 am

Amen to that and amen once again πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 3:31 am

Ahem that first sentence was kind of redundant πŸ˜‰ But what fun we had as kids, no? Sigh, to go back to that time. Again.

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 3:34 am

He he that seems to be the only problem here to be honest. More fights than two cats in an alley πŸ˜‰

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 3:38 am

Thank you so much, Gowri. It's probably prudent to set aside time for this kind of play on a daily basis. I know I am happier on those days for sure πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 3:40 am

Awww, the schedules for kids. Sigh, what do we do to them and their childhood and by extension, ourselves!

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 3:42 am

Agree completely Rekha! It's what keeps us from crossing over completely into that realm of just being a Mom figure all the time. Hope the little one is better and up and about now. From the sound of it, she was πŸ™‚

Shailaja Vishwanath · March 11, 2016 at 3:44 am

Thanks Vasantha πŸ™‚ May the good times always persist with you and your son πŸ™‚

Karen Bell · March 14, 2016 at 10:25 am

Yes, it is really important to play and I always feel good when we do. However, I also like to watch my 3 children play together too, observe how they interact and have fun. I love joining in with all three. A bit of play certainly brighten the day.
Thanks for sharing with #LetKidsbeKids

Jaibala Rao · March 17, 2016 at 9:40 am

Oh most times our house has two 4 year olds S and me. Sometimes 3, if my brother is around. I just love sitting down and playing with him. Plus have ypu seen the toys these days, I love playing with them so much. Sometimes we are all just 6 4 year olds living at home and playing with S is so much fun.

Anindya · March 17, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Thanks Shailaja for a nice one once again. Somewhere the parents within us are all same and I was just remembering the fun that I have with my son and how many silly games we play. We fight, we give a shower to all his animal toys and many more stuff. Keep up the good writing

tulika singh · March 19, 2016 at 5:00 am

I do I do I do. Physical games and word games and Atlas. .Uff how much we play that. We love doing puzzles together and fight over who gets to put in the last piece. I hope we never stop playing together.

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