As parents, we all know that there's no one more important to us than our kids.
As parents, we also know that, as much as we love those wonderful little people, playing with them can be mind-numbingly boring!
But, one more thing we know is that it's important to spend time with our kids, and that means we play with them.
So, what's a mom or dad to do when it's the weekend, and we don't have errands to run or chores to do, and we've promised to spend the day playing with the kids? How can we make the day something to look forward to for all of us, not just the kids?
Here are 6 ways to make playing with the kids more grown-up friendly so that we can enjoy our kids, not just bite the bullet and wait for bedtime!
What are your faves?
Who says you always have to play the games your kids want to play? Why don't you introduce some of the games and activities you're into to your kids? Teach them how to play your favorite board or card games (poker for candy, anyone?). Set up some paints or a craft project. Teach them how to make ice cream or snow cones. You'll enjoy yourself by playing games you enjoy, and maybe your kids will learn some new favorites too!
Short and Sweet
You got the chance to play some of your favorite games, so it's important to throw the kids a bone too. Give them your undivided attention in their favorite game of hide and seek, freeze tag, playing dressup -- whatever it is they love the most. Just set a time limit -- you can handle anything as long as it has a set end point. Here's the secret though -- don't let your kids catch on to the fact that the time limit is for your sanity. Instead of saying, "Okay, I'll play pretty,pretty princess for a half hour, then I'm done.", say, "Okay, let's play 'Star Wars' until 2:00, then it's time for ice cream!" Make it your mission to get your kid excited to end the boring game too!
Remember how insulted you were when your parents told you to take your stuff out of their house before they donated it to Goodwill? Sure, you may have been upset at the time that your childhood room wasn't going to continue as a shrine to you, but those boxes of vintage toys in your basement can come in handy now. Go on a trip down memory lane, and rummage through those toys with your kids. They'll love hearing the stories of your favorite toys from when you were a kid, and you can both have some fun playing with the old (to you) and new (to your kids) finds.
Tag team it
Encourage some special bonding time with each parent. Play with the kids for an hour by yourself while your husband spends some quality time in his man cave, with the promise that he'll give you the same consideration at the end of the hour. The prospect of yet another round of hide and seek will seem a lot more palatable when you know you'll be able to relax with a book and a chocolate bar for awhile!
A Change of scenery
Visit a new playground. Explore that hiking trail you always pass by but never get a chance to go to. The novelty will keep both you and your kid engaged.
Bring in re-enforcements
Invite your sister and her son to come over, or your best friend and her daughters. This isn't for a solo playdate; you'll still play with the kids. But it's a lot more fun to push the kids on the swings over and over when you have your bff to talk to at the same time!