Teaching My Kids to Play

5 Mar

Superhero puzzleI have a confession to make.  Sometimes spending time with my children is hard.  I have two full-time jobs, while attempting to keep a household of three boys in order.  But that is just a part of the endless list of reasons why spending time with my children is difficult.  I feel like I am not alone. 

According to Pew Research,  “Fathers have nearly tripled the amount of time they spend with their children, from 2.5 hours in 1965 to 7.3 hours per week in 2011, according to a Pew Research report that analyzed years of time-use data.”  Fathers spend only 1.5 hours a day with their children.

In comparison, I spend a lot of time with my kids, but it often revolves around working, electronics, or school work.  I wanted to shake things up, so I started being intentional about spending 15 minutes doing a fun activity with my boys.

During the first week, we made an Avengers Puzzle, played Uno, read “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and played Qwerkle.  There was much laughter and fun.  My boys started asking me each day, “Dad, what is our fun thing for today?”  It brought me a lot of joy to know that they wanted to spend time with me.

One night during our second week, I told the boys that we were going to play with all those plastic toy figurines that they got for Christmas.  It didn’t take me long to realize that my boys didn’t know how to pretend.  They gathered their figures into a pile, and just sat there looking at me.  “What do we do now?”  I jumped right in acting out scenarios, and turning Star Wars Emperor into an old grandma, and two stormtroopers into the do-do brothers.

At first, my boys didn’t know what to think.  They thought I was crazy.  I would turn my characters towards them, and try to involve my sons into the story, but they didn’t know what do or say.  The only thing that they did was try to smash my characters (which hurts by the way, if you are holding them).

It took fifteen minutes for them to even understand the concept.  After thirty minutes, they were laughing hysterically at Emperor grandma, and the do-do brothers.  After about forty-five minutes, the whole event turned into a huge wrestling match filled with laughter and love.

I am not going to lie.  Playing with your children takes work.  Playing with your kids takes planning.  Playing with your children takes patience.  There are moments when I struggle, but most of the time I could not be more happy.

I want to be a dad who teaches my children about God and how to enjoy the life that He has given us.  I want to teach them to work, to learn, to laugh, and to play to His glory.

One Response to “Teaching My Kids to Play”

  1. Melinda Taylor March 6, 2014 at 05:35 #

    Children need to know how to pretend. That makes them creative people. Yes, playing with children does take a lot of time but well worth it. You can never recapture the days of childhood. Do not waste them.

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