Breakfast. Check. Son’s Math. Check. Respond to emails. Check. Help daughter with reading assignment. Lunch. Complete project for work. Dinner. Check, check, check, and check. Whew. This was a good day. We got it all done!
Hold on! Wait a minute! You’re missing something. If you keep up this schedule, the morale and productivity in your home are going to drop and you will miss the opportunity before you. How do I know you’re missing something?
You’re missing something BIG! You’re missing out on a chance to increase your kids’ academic, social, and emotional skills, their ability to deal with stressful situations and anxiety. Oh, and you’re missing out on an opportunity to learn about your kids or your spouse, develop deeper connections, and create lasting memories. Still don’t know what you’re missing?
Yes. That’s the thing. SCHEDULED PLAYTIME FOR YOUR FAMILY IS CRUCIAL.
Unfortunately, you may also be missing out on a way to make your life easier while you’re home with the family for the foreseeable future. Who doesn’t want that?
This is a MUST. We can’t leave play to chance and hope someone says something funny while we eat lunch or while they’re working on math. We can’t just hope that the adventurous person in the family brings some excitement. And we sure can’t minimize its importance.
We must add play to our checklist. Why?
- Let’s start with all the reasons I mentioned earlier. No need to rehash those.
- Brings positive energy, creating a more conducive environment for the work that follows.
- We’re a family. We do life together—we laugh and cry together. We play together, feel each other’s stress, and feel each other’s joy. (I can feel it in my home when someone is really stressed out about something.)
- When we play and laugh, our brain releases dopamine, a chemical that lets us know that we like what we’re doing. We connect that joy and pleasure with the people we are doing it with, making us want to repeat it.
- We’re living in stressful times. Laughter truly is the best medicine.
- Play strengthens our relationships.
- Strengthens children’s academic skills. (I know I said it earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again.)
I get it. You’re the adult. You have to be the responsible one to make sure that everyone gets all their work done. That everything stays orderly and structured. And if we get everything completed, then we’ll play. Because play is the reward for finishing everything, right? Besides, how will it look if it’s 10:30 AM and we’re playing a game and they haven’t read their English homework yet or you haven’t quite finished that project? You don’t want to be that parent.
Think of the other side of being the responsible parent. The responsible parent who helps to increase their child’s ability to achieve academically and improve communication skills. The parent who builds their kid’s confidence and their immune system. The parent who’s reducing the stress level in the home and creating a positive, energetic homework environment. That’s what you’re doing when you schedule playtime. You’re scheduling all those benefits, which might make it a little easier to get through each day.
There are tons of lists of ways to play. Keep it simple. It can be just a few minutes as a study/work break or a designated 30 or 45 minute recess. Whatever you do, don’t not schedule time to play while you’re home. One could say, you’re not being responsible.
Ideas for How to Schedule Playtime at Home:
- Ball up some paper, get a trash can and start close. See who can make the shot, and keep inching your way back. Add some flair. Celebrate creativity in shooting styles whether you make it or not.
- Turn on an upbeat song and dance. Use a hat and have whoever is wearing the hat dance for about 20-30 seconds. Then have someone else put on the hat and dance. Profusely cheer on the person dancing with the hat on.
- Draw designs on the driveway using sidewalk chalk.
- Impersonate one another, other people in your life, or famous people.
- Build a fort in the house using couch cushions, pillows, and bedsheets. Then let someone do their school/job work inside the fort.
- Start making up a story. Speak for 30 seconds and then have the next person pick up the story from there for 30 seconds. Then have someone else go for 30 seconds and keep going around as long as you can. The story may become outlandish, but who cares?
Now, look at all the smiles, laughter, and imagination taking place. Check, check, and check.