Confession time--I've realized I don't spend a lot of quality time with my kids. Of course, being a stay-at-home mom, I spend a lot of time with them doing things that need to be done...but honestly the things they want me to do with them are boring. Toys made for toddlers and preschoolers aren't usually that interesting to a 33-year-old. Same goes for games. And books.
But what hit me the other day is that just a little bit of time spent doing something fun with them means a lot. In the long run, they'll remember those little bits of time more than all the "have to" stuff I do (feeding them, bathing them, breaking up their arguments.)
One game of Candy Land takes about 10 minutes. Sure, Zoodle ends up moving the game pieces when he's not supposed to, but the kids both still have fun, and they appreciate the time with me. And I know if I play simple games with them now, when they get older they'll be better able to learn the complex games. (You know, the ones that are actually fun!)
A few days ago Chickie asked me to play with Play-Doh with her. I'll admit, I actually enjoyed making an elephant, a cat, and a lion out of Play-Doh. After a little while I was ready to do something else, but I was glad I'd invested that time with her.
I've always read to them, but I'm trying to do so more consistently. Books for kids their age are short, and when they get into longer chapter books we can read a little at a time.
I shy away from anything boring. I tend to enjoy teenagers a whole lot more than preschoolers. So it's been very freeing to me to realize that my kids' boring-to-me, fun-to-them activities can be short activities. I don't have to spend my whole day in "their world."
I want my kids to spend lots of time entertaining themselves and each other. I think that's very important as they develop independence and creativity. But by letting go of my adult self...and my adult selfishness...for a quick game or book, I can enrich their lives immeasurably through the years. Ten minutes at a time.