Parents, It's Okay to Play
Parents usually love watching their children play. We enjoy seeing the smiles on their faces and often watch the joy spread from one child to another as they play, laugh and simply have fun. No one has to tell children to play or have fun. It’s in their nature to let go and be carefree. So often, children seek attention such as a hug, a conversation, game time, a walk around the block or a bike ride. They can make anything fun and sometimes messy. And guess what, that’s okay. As the parental saying goes, “it will wash off.”
It’s also a gift that they want to spend time with us. As parents, we can learn a lot from our children when we are present and connected. It requires us to slow down a bit and, yes, sometimes postpone a few items on the to do list. When we are present, we get to indulge in and enjoy playful moments with our children, which can lead us to smile, connect and have fun too.
“It’s okay” moments that keep us sane
Have you ever caught your child doing something that made you want to scream, but instead, you had to laugh? Or have you noticed them doing something that made you ask yourself, “why?” On many occasions, I’ve said, “what made you think that was okay?” It’s in these moments that I try to pause and ask myself, “is it really that big of a deal?” Maybe. In the big scheme of things, I am usually able to remind myself that it’s okay. So, I breathe and let it go. Sometimes it’s good to simply go with the flow.
The gift of being present
One of the best gifts that we can give our children is the gift of being present in mind and body. Parents, you probably know what I’m talking about. Have you ever been in the room but not “in the room?” Photos and videos are best when they are attached to a great memory. Don’t you want to be a part of the memory and not just a spectator? I’m talking to myself here too. I often find that it’s easy for me to watch my children do things and not participate. Lately, I’ve been reminding myself to do better and get involved.
Today, I encourage you to lean into every moment with your child. Consider taking a mindful approach. Notice their expressions, what they are wearing, or what you hear, see and smell. Breathe and take it all in one moment at a time because they will grow up fast. Strive to be a little more present in mind and body. You can do it—one day at a time.
Join the fun
Parents know that there is always a lot to do which can be stressful. The mental load of a never-ending to-do list is real. But think about it this way: you will never get this time back with your child. In all your parenting, remember that it’s okay to play. It’s good for your physical and mental health to be present in this way. It can help you connect further with your child and allow you to go with the flow more often. Children have a way of making anything fun and engaging, so let’s join them. Let’s play!
If you would like to explore other opportunities for playfulness, connection and flow further, you’re invited to join UK HR Health and Wellness and HR Work-Life from May 9-27, 2022. You can enjoy in-person events, online workshops and on-demand content to help you “(re)Discover Your Spark.” This includes an opportunity for a family movie night screening of Disney-Pixar’s “Soul” on Friday, May 27 at the Worsham Theater in the Gatton Student Center. Visit this page to learn more and register for each event that interests you.