Blogger and mother of two Katie Norris writes for Technorati Women and at her own blog “A Mommy with Selective Memory”. She recently discovered the power of building confident children through unsupervised outdoor play. Today she tells us some of her tips of sharing quality play time with kids at home.
Recently I made a shameful discovery….I had become an addict…an iPhone addict. I was loaded up with apps so my phone was constantly dinging and buzzing. While I was at home with my two toddlers, I found that I couldn’t help myself. I jumped for the unlock button every time an email came. I was often scrolling through Facebook updates from people I didn’t care about and hadn’t seen in 10 years. Why did I suddenly care more about emails and updates from strangers than playing with my own kids? I decided I needed a serious intervention.
At first it was hard. Every time I heard a ding or buzz from the kitchen drawer, my hands itched to check it. However, I slowly learned to live without my phone and I found that I was truly paying attention to what they were saying and doing. Best of all, I went back to truly playing with the kids because I knew up front I wouldn’t allow myself to be interrupted by the dings.
I thought back to games I played as a kid and got creative. Now one of the kids’ favorite games is something that I played when I was growing up, with slight modification. I bought a couple small buckets and a bunch of fluffy multi-colored balls from the local craft store. The game is sort of like an Easter egg hunt. They sit down and close their eyes in the living room while I “hide the blueberries”. I put them everywhere: on the fireplace, on couches, in corners of the room. I hide dozens of them and when I’m done I tell them they can open their eyes because it’s time to pick all the blueberries. They scurry around the room with buckets in hand, looking for all the “blueberries”. They shriek with excitement every time they find one to put in the bucket. When they’re done, they beg me to hide them again.
It’s a great game because they learn patience while I hide everything, then they get exercise as they scurry all around the room. It boosts their self-esteem when I notice them for being so smart.
Finding ways to boost self-esteem is very important to me, and I certainly wasn’t getting it done while I was addicted to my phone. I would call my intervention a huge success. Now I constantly look for new games to play with them, and I find that they even come up with their own games too. That can be the most rewarding of all—to watch my kids get creative on their own. I’m proud to say that I don’t miss out tapping my phone. I actively watch and encourage their creativity. It’s far more interesting and rewarding!
What games do you play at home with your kids?
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