I’m a mum of a 5 year old little boy and as much as I love him I just don’t enjoy playing, what do you suggest?
All mothers no matter how old their children are have a sense of responsibility to entertain their children especially if they are an only child. Most mothers could understand the feelings you go through having to play with your children and not enjoying it at some stage, it doesn’t mean we don’t love them.
It’s human nature not to enjoy things you already know how to do. However unfortunatley for us adults, children especially when they are little, enjoy repetition and it’s the way they learn. It gives them confidence that they have mastered something, but once you get to the 100th version of a game your over it!
Or another situation is where your child wont allow you to finish playing and their upset lures you back into playing with them but your heart just isn’t into it. Children are very intuitive and often when children will know if you’re not 100% committed their intensity doubles if not triples to try and get the attention they want from you.
Here are 5 ways you can start to enjoy play
1 – Do things you enjoy
Choose activities you like to do that can be adapted to include your child. Doing things you like to do will mean you are more likely to have a genuine interest in engaging in an activity and enjoy the time you spend together. example: Baking, painting, walks, singing, dancing, yoga and meditation.
2 – Set the limit
If you struggle with play, then while you’re establishing activities you enjoy to do together then before engaging in play, set a time limit. Tell your child, for example to play 2 rounds of a board game then you will take a break and play again once break time has finished. Be mindful not to make the break time too long otherwise they will learn to understand break time as you not returning to play.
If you’re at the stage where just the sounds of play bothers you, start small and do 10 minute increments. Doing many small increments often can be effective because your child will learn to understand you will come back again to play making your in-between play times less disruptive.
If your child knows that when your playing with them they are going to get your full attention that is uninterrupted they are less likely to nag you in between because they will know when you play you play and when you’re not you’re not. If you commit they will too.
More importantly our kids are important so if we say we will do something its important we do what we say because we lead by example.
If you have had your break in between playing and they have managed to transition well then praise them specifically on what they have done well. Keep in mind however the age of your child and what you are expecting from them. Playing alone isn’t an easy skill to learn and the objective is to transition in and out of you having to play specific games, it’s not stopping your interaction with them during your time.
5- Be kind
Remember things take time. There will be days you will be more stressed than others and likewise for your children they have hard days too. Perfection is not the objective just progression. It may not work today, tomorrow, or even next week but stick with it and commit your child will follow.
If things don’t work out today be kind to yourself and just have a cup of tea start again tomorrow.