As mothers navigating the beautiful chaos of raising little ones, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the demands of parenting. Between meal prep, bedtime routines, and the endless to-do lists, finding time for meaningful connection with your little ones might seem like an impossible feat.

You know about the importance of play. You know how great it is for creating that connection between you and your child, and yes -there are times that you do it really well.

But the truth is, most of the time you just don't have a minute to yourself. You feel stressed. You feel tired. And quite frankly, the constant demands on you from your kids to 'play' with them just gets too much sometimes. You attempt to play, but then get distracted by other things that need to be done, or even worse, you bring your attention to your phone, mindlessly scrolling social media whilst your kids are 'playing' with you. 

And then you hear the dreaded; 'Mummy stop looking at your phone! You are supposed to be playing with me!' Oh the guilt. The shame of it! 

Rest assured, you are not alone. We are all guilty of not being present for our kids when we know we 'should'  be. Being distracted; interrupting your play with them and announcing;   'Hang on, I just need to go and hang that washing up. I'll be back soon'.

There are a huge number of benefits in playing with your kids, for both the caregiver and the child, including:-

Stress Reduction. Engaging in play is not only beneficial for your child but can also serve as a therapeutic outlet for you. Play allows you to temporarily step away from the stresses of adulting and immerse yourself in the world of your child's imagination.

Enhanced Communication. Play is a universal language that transcends age and fosters communication. When you enter your child's world through play, you gain insight into their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, creating a foundation for open and honest communication. Through play, you open up a gateway for problem solving real life scenarios, providing opportunities for children to communicate with you when they don't have the language skills or when they feel too vulnerable communicating with you in other ways. Play becomes the safe filter which they can hide behind. 

Building Trust. Through play, you demonstrate that you value and prioritise your child's interests. This builds a sense of trust and security, making them more likely to turn to you when they need support or guidance.

We were born to play. All of us, at one stage as children, played. Whether it was by ourselves or with others. Play was our WORLD. This is where we learned, grew and lived. Yet, somewhere along the way - for many of us - we lost the art of play. We grew up and then all of a sudden playing felt 'silly'. We felt awkward letting ourselves go and suddenly other things became more important. 

Can you relate to this? I would imagine that most of us can on some level. 

So just how do we engage in play with our kids when;

(a) we are either too busy or distracted, or
(b) we just dread the thought of playing with them in the first place?


Quality Over Quantity
Let's be honest – time is a precious commodity, and mothers often find themselves juggling numerous responsibilities. The good news is that play doesn't have to be a grand production; it's about quality, not quantity. Even short, focused bursts of play can have a significant impact on your child's emotional well-being and your connection with them.

Schedule Playtime
Set aside dedicated pockets of time for play, even if they're brief. This helps make play a consistent part of your routine.

Immerse Yourself
During playtime, let go of distractions and immerse yourself in the moment. Be fully present, allowing your child to lead and express themselves freely.

Let the kids take the reigns
Remember, you have entered their world. So for the short period of time that you have set aside to play with them, allow them to take control. And practice getting silly. Avoid trying to 'teach' or 'guide' them. Not everything needs to have an educational purpose. The playing is value enough. 

Celebrate the Small Wins. 
Play is is not about elaborate activities. It can be as simple as playing 'tickle monster' for 10 minutes. Begin to view play as joyous moments with your kids. Celebrate the small wins, the shared laughter, and the moments of connection.


Many of have lost the 'art' of play. We all grew up with a past, and depending on what is in our past, we have all formed beliefs and a narrative around what play is. Some of us were told to 'stop being silly and making a mockery of yourself' when we were kids and decided to play in public. We were condemned and shamed for being kids. And so we learned that play was not something to enjoy. For others, our own caregivers never played with us, or never even had time for us in much capacity at all, so we don't know what it feels like to connect through play. 

Whatever your relationship is with play, it is your past which has made it what it is today. And the good news is, there is still time to reclaim your childlike passion for it.

Find what brings you joy
Play is simply this; whatever brings you joy. If you have a belief that play needs to be some elaborate activity involving role playing dragons and princesses, give yourself permission to change that now.  Because play is simple fun. It is what lights you up. What makes you smile. What sparks your imagination. So think back to your childhood. What did you do to have fun? Then try to recreate this fun in a way that feels right for you as an adult. If drawing was your thing, draw alongside your kids. Do some mindful colouring. Bring your past back into your present. Do it by yourself or with your kids. However you choose to do it, relight that fire. It is there. You just need to find it.  
Change the word PLAY for CONNECTION
Yup. It's as simple as that. If you dread playing with your kids. If you dread getting down on their level, change the word 'play' for 'connection'. Next time your kids say 'Mummy, can you play with me?, reframe it to "Mummy can you connect with me?" and try that one on for size. All kids want is a connection with you. Sometimes, if you are busy cooking and they ask you to play, all they may need is for you to be a receptionist and be available to answer a pretend phone now and again. Play does not have to be complicated. It it simply connection. 

And isn't connecting with your kids one of the best things in the world?

In conclusion, embracing play is not just about entertaining your child; it's about building a foundation of love and understanding that will last a lifetime. So, dear, beautiful mummas, amidst the chaos, take a moment to embrace the power of play and witness the magic it can bring to your relationship with your kiddlywinks. After all, the laundry can wait, but the opportunity to connect with your child is fleeting. 

I'd love to hear about your experiences of play as a kid and as a parent. Leave your comments below. 


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