Put in the form of a question, “What is the biggest gift you can give your children?”
What was your answer?
- Was it spending quality time with your kids?
- Or maybe your first thought was giving them more attention?
- Tell them that you love them more often?
- Or was it a playful attitude?
I didn’t get it right the first time either, but I’ve learned that this is the most important thing.
A playful attitude is the biggest gift you can give to your children
While love, attention and quality time are all absolutely true and important for a healthy family life, having an attitude of play trumps all. When you feel playful in your life your entire existence is affected. You laugh more. You smile more. You let things go that might otherwise irritate you.
It feels damn good, am I right? And when you feel damn good, things fall into place.
It seems simple in theory but not so easy in practice. I am the first to admit that it is hard to do. Being online as much as I am these days it’s sometimes hard to pull myself away from the tasks/duties/responsibilities (I think) I need to complete. Here’s a short and very incomplete list of things that come to mind.
- Keeping up with the changes on social media, how to use Facebook. Argh!
- Posting content you care enough about to share with your friends.
- Responding to emails in a timely manner.
- Writing from the heart. It can be painful and rewarding but it takes time.
- Learning about this parenting journey as we face new milestones and challenges with our child.
And last but certainly not least.
- Squeezing enough sleep into the mix.
I could go on, but I’m not here to complain. I’m here to break it down, not only so I understand it better, but so that I can share it with you. And I know that I can complicate things by over-analyzing my foibles to death.
With that being said it comes down to one simple thing.
When you have a playful attitude with your kids it rubs off.
Barbara Coloroso, a very wise woman said (in her PEP Talk last night, this will be another post coming soon),
“A child who creates does not destroy”
When your kids are inspired to be creative, to explore and make mistakes (safely) they will become the kinds of people that we hope they will be. When we put limits on our children or micro manage their time or overprotect them, we create children who are fearful or at the very least unable to make important decisions for themselves.
They witness your compassion
When you have a playful attitude your kids experience you tapping into your own curiosity. They witness your compassion for others and see that being mindful of your effect on the people around you is top priority. They learn from you that caring deeply for themselves and other people is necessary and good. And they also witness the opposite. Our children will model our behaviours whether we like it or not.
Being playful brings a sense of wonder back into your life
Being playful brings a sense of wonder back into your life and there is nothing but good that can come out of that. When children are taught to embrace their curiosity and to explore in ways that make them happy they become more confident and secure people.
When children are encouraged to be themselves they answer to their own desires, think of others more and get inspired and not because we told them to. Because they want and need to.
Can you imagine for a minute if every child felt safe to stand up for themselves, was kind and empathic with others and inspired themselves to be good people because it feels good and right?
The world would be a much better, happier place.
We all struggle with one thing or another. I certainly still struggle with this concept of keeping play a priority in my life as you know. And so if you struggle with engaging in play with your kids, that’s ok. We all have to start somewhere.
A challenge for you
If you’d like to see what happens when you embrace a more playful attitude in your family life, take this challenge!
Get down on the floor with your young child, or go for a run with your teen, or listen to inspiring music or just go outside and recapture what it feels like to be a child. And if you struggle with that, watch your children and imagine what it must feel like to be them.
Chances are you will have more fun.
Thanks for reading.