It requires effort and practice to remember how toys talk to each other, or the type of adventures dolls and superheroes like to engage in.
But the benefits of play cannot be ignored. For the child, the social, emotional and cognitive skills developed through play with parental figures are well documented. This focused attention is essential for healthy wellbeing and development.
For the parent, the act of play allows connection with their children on an interactive level that is based on pleasure, rather than necessity. So much time in parenting is spent tending to the essential tasks of feeding, soothing, and educating children; whereas time specifically set aside for play, generates interactions that are based on enjoyment of the relationship, rather than being goal or outcome focused.
We cannot continue to look at play as a waste of resources, but rather, must see it as an avenue to bring back optimism and excitement to our roles.
Fathers too, need to understand the importance of play – not only their own playtime with their offspring, but in giving mothers the opportunity to engage joyously with their children in a supportive environment.
Let’s allow ourselves to reignite our imaginations, to put aside the worries of all the other things we should be doing, and let’s allow ourselves to start being really present with our kids.
Dads, you need to tell mums it’s OK to play with their kids! Raising children is about a lot more than cooking and cleaning and although those tasks provide tangible results you can see, they are no more important than the incredible work being done in the art of play.
It’s time to give mothers back the permission to enjoy raising their children.
Let’s start embracing the art of play. Let’s strive to find ways to play and engage with our children that we can take joy in. Let’s allow ourselves to reignite our imaginations, to put aside the worries of all the other things we should be doing, and let’s allow ourselves to start being really present with our kids.
Motherhood should be enjoyed and we should be able to celebrate that enjoyment. Putting play back in to our days is a direct shortcut to embracing the passion and zest we have for our kids and the time we spend together.
We don’t need to be drowning in drudgery to know that we are doing real and important work.
The greatest work of motherhood, is the part that brings the greatest joy – taking the time to stop, and to play.
Samantha Johnson is a writer, mother and fan of facts, fiction, feminism and families. You can find more of her articles over at The Huffington Post and follow her on Twitter. Make sure to follow her Samantha Johnson Storyteller Facebook page.