We all know how important it is to spend quality time connecting with our kids. We all know how blissful it is to focus our attention on our children and just have fun together; playing, talking and laughing.
We also know that to keep a family functioning, the boring practical stuff must get done.
Laundry, dishes, paying bills, cleaning bathrooms. The list can go on forever.
I know I have personally felt the guilt of not spending enough quality time with my kids. The daily to-dos overwhelm me and I’m just not efficient when it comes to home management. Even though I stay home ALL DAY with my young kids, I miss them!
My typical reaction is to over-correct and spend every. single. moment. playing, learning and making memories with my children. While I may have happy kids for a while, things start to unravel at the seams quickly. Nothing good to eat for dinner tonight, a forgotten bill tomorrow.
It’s not pretty when there are no adults in the family.
Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you, let me share a little secret that has been helping me walk this fine line of fun and function.
Pretend Play with a Purpose.
It’s pretty simple. Think of a household chore that needs to be done. Come up with a scenario for the activity that can get your kids involved in imaginative play WITH you WHILE you get things done.
Here’s two examples.
1. I needed to make my bed. So we decided the bed was a pirate ship. Loopy donned his buccaneer hat while I wrapped a head scarf around me. Pillows became shipping supplies that needed to be loaded and unloaded from the ship. The blankets became the sails that needed to be smoothed out before the luggage (pillows) could be put back on. While pulling up the blinds, we pretended we were hoisting the rigging.
Of course, this bed making event took much longer than it would have taken me to just do it myself. But there were also a lot more giggles and bonding time between me and my precious son.
2. Clean laundry needed to be folded and put away. My son is too young to be of any real use in the folding department, but put stuff away??? That he can do.
Loopy decided to dress up as “Robin Good” (nope, not a typo) and deliver the folded clothes to the poor. His room was Sherwood Forest and his brother’s room was Nottingham. After folding a shirt or two, I’d direct Loopy to whichever English location was in the most dire need of clothing.
This one actually saved me time. We had a good pace going, even when Prince John tried to jumble everything up!
We’ve been having a grand time getting stuff done AND spending quality time playing together. The possibilities are quite endless, though I still haven’t figured out how to make paying bills fun.
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