When was the last time you and your mate played together? Seriously… can you remember the last time you did something crazy fun together?
In far too many marriages, couples throw play out the window and replace it with serious adult responsibilities like careers, raising children, taking care of elderly parents, household chores and community commitments.
The University of Denver’s Center for Marital and Family Studies research finds that the amount of fun couples have together is the strongest factor in understanding overall marital happiness.
The more you invest in fun, friendship and being there for your partner, the happier the relationship will be over time. The correlation between fun and marital happiness is high and significant.
TAKE THE CHALLENGE!
For the next four weeks, intentionally set aside time every other day to do something fun together. It doesn’t have to be something that will take hours; it could be a 30-minute activity. Watching television together or sitting next to each other while online does not count as play.
In an informal survey, couples say they do these things:
Play games like Scrabble, Dominoes, Rook, Wii, Uno, Quiddler, Frisbee or Catchphrase.
Take a walk or run together.
Play a practical joke on each other.
Cook together, try new recipes and enjoy a great meal together.
List activities for each letter of the alphabet that cost less than $10, then work your way through the list.
Work a jigsaw puzzle.
Do an activity together like horseback riding, bowling, fishing or canoeing.
Play isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. So don’t just sit around reminiscing about how playful and adventurous you used to be or lamenting the fact that you never do anything fun anymore. Take the challenge and remember—playful people are a lot of fun to be around!
***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Couples-That-Play-Together-Web-Image-scaled.jpg6302048Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2018-07-09 00:00:002022-08-24 09:29:40Couples Who Play Together
A young girl was touring the social worker through the home she shared with her father. When she came to her bedroom, she proudly showed the woman everything in her room. With big eyes and a huge smile, the little girl asked, “Would you like to see bombs away?”
Hesitantly, the social worker said yes. “Come on Dad, let’s show her,” said the little girl.
Dad came over to the bed, grabbed his daughter’s arms and legs and started swinging her. Finally, he let go as she yelled, “Bombs away!” and landed on her bed. Loud, gleeful laughter followed.
Looking horrified, the social worker said, “Stop! No! You should not be doing that.” Both father and daughter looked at her with troubled and quizzical faces and said, “We shouldn’t be doing bombs away?”
“Researchers tell us that children of all ages from infants to high school prefer play with dad over mom because it is unpredictable, physical, rough, dad cheats, and it’s fun. It is a test – it stretches you. You find yourself doing things you would never do. Most importantly, it is a playful form or preparation for the challenges our children will face in the real world.”
Klinger contends that what the father was doing with his daughter was totally appropriate. While mothers are the initial primary caregivers and continue to be the nurturers and protectors, it is the father’s job to engage his children in rough and tumble play and to encourage them to take risks.
However, the challenge for many is that nearly 80 percent of dads today did not grow up with an actively involved father in their lives. When moms say, “Don’t play so rough,” most guys don’t know to say, “But this is what I am supposed to be doing.”
“The bonding with a child and their father is based on this rough and tumble play,” Klinger said. “This playful interaction turns out to be very powerful in teaching independence, self-reliance and courage. It also encourages children to become more tolerant of frustration. The father is introducing the child to a world that is defined by adventure and adversity, not comfort.”
There are other benefits of rough and tumble play for children, too. They include:
Building a bond of affection and trust with their father;
Exposure to personal challenges such as riding a bike;
Learning to be a successful risk-taker;
Girls growing up to be unintimidated by competitive men; and
“When a mother approaches her child, the infant’s heart rate begins to slow down,” Klinger said. “When a father approaches his child, their heart rate begins to race in anticipation of excitement and action. Babies need this to stimulate brain activity.
“I can remember when my own son would climb our spiral staircase and leap out to me below. The space separating us was only a couple of feet, but he was jumping from seven feet high. He was investing a huge amount of trust in me. Admittedly, this is the kind of thing that drives mom nuts, yet it’s exactly what dads and children should be doing. Play is the antidote for anxiety.”
Looking for more? Check out this episode of JulieB TV on this topic!
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/sherise-tij1Ah7lCXA-unsplash-e1584039513833.jpg12391278Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2018-05-17 00:00:002020-11-06 13:45:16Fathering is Child’s Play
It can be hard to be keeping your sanity with the kids when it’s cold outside. There are plenty of parents doing the happy dance as they whisk their children back to school after the holidays. Moms or dads whose children stay with them all the time may be wringing their hands at this point though, trying to creatively keep their kids occupied and not begging to play games on electronic devices.
Depending on the age of your children, inside activities may be the order of the day when you need to start keeping your sanity with the kids when it’s cold outside. To help you stay sane and create some really fun memories, here are some ideas from other parents you might want to try.
One mom presented her kids with a challenge. She gave them jello packets with sweetened, colored gelatin and let them add anything else they needed to make sparkly, fizzing explosions. They knew the jello powder wouldn’t react explosively with anything, so they added baking soda and sparkles. They also knew that vinegar or lemon juice reacts with baking soda, making their concoction bubble to the top getting the eruption/explosion they wanted. As a result, they decided to mix all their dry ingredients together first and then add the vinegar or lemon juice for a better effect.
Sometimes when it’s cold outside it’s fun to pretend it’s not. Crank up the heat a little, put on some shorts and let your kids make homemade no-churn Cookie Monster Ice Cream. Not sure how to do that?
Here’s what you’ll need to keep your sanity with your kids:
2 cups heavy cream
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon blue food coloring
20 Oreos or something similar, and
15 chocolate chip cookies.
Put 15 Oreos and 10 chocolate chip cookies in a plastic bag and break them into chunks. Set aside. Whip heavy cream, food coloring and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Beat in condensed milk until color is uniform. Add additional food coloring if needed. Fold in broken cookies and transfer to loaf pan. Break up all remaining cookies and use to decorate top of pan. Place in freezer for at least 5 hours and then enjoy!
Recreating recipes are great activities to practice counting, naming colors, measuring specific amounts and talking about the difference in the way we measure liquid and dry ingredients – all in the midst of doing something fun.
Present your children with some random things you have around the house such as a box (shoebox, shipping box, shirt boxes, etc), unused paint stir sticks, newspaper, tape, popsicle sticks, paper plates, paper cups, pipe cleaners, tissue paper and whatever else you can find; then challenge them to create something.
Still need more ideas? Break out the playdough or board/card games. Build a fort inside the house or have a contest doing something fun like dancing, singing or cooking. Think of some things you enjoyed or wanted to do as a kid and recreate the experience for your kids. Ask other parents what they do or plan a craft you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t yet. You might even do a quick online search for fresh ideas or inside activities using items you already have in your home.
If you’ve ever seen a child spend hours playing with a box, you know just how creative they can be. Imagine what kids can do with just a little direction here and there. Some kids will jump right in to a new activity while others balk at leaving electronics behind. But chances are, whatever you plan for them will satisfy and stimulate them way more than staring at a screen ever will. Plus, they’ll remember it longer, too.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/emily-webster-slHj-A9HQp0-unsplash-e1584145913639.jpg6091250Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2018-01-15 06:30:002020-11-12 15:57:37Keeping Your Sanity with the Kids When It’s Cold Outside
Imagine walking down the street and hearing laughter and hollering coming from around the corner. Assuming it is a group of children, you turn the corner and see blindfolded adults being led around by other adults. Balls fly through the air as the blindfolded people attempt to tag other blindfolded people. In the midst of it all you see that these people are clearly having fun.
Most parents know about the importance of play for their children, but what about the importance and benefits of play for grown-ups?
The National Institute for Play (NIP) believes that play can dramatically transform our personal health, our relationships, the education we provide our children, and the capacity of our corporations to innovate.
Perhaps you have heard the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” There is probably more truth to the saying than most realize. Research indicates that without play, it is hard to give your best at work or at home.
What do you do on a regular basis for fun? When did you last go down a slide, play hide and go seek or join a good game of wiffle ball? Many adults have the mindset that they are too old to be playful. There is actually strong evidence that this could not be further from the truth. Play may be the very thing that keeps you young and healthier. In fact, studies show that a life lived without play is at increased risk for stress-related diseases, mental health issues, addiction and interpersonal violence.
Are there more benefits of play for adults?
According to the NIP, play is the gateway to vitality. By its nature, it is uniquely and intrinsically rewarding.
Play generates optimism, seeks out novelty, makes perseverance fun and leads to mastery. Additionally, it gives the immune system a bounce, fosters empathy and promotes a sense of belonging and community. Each of these byproducts are indications of personal health, and their shortage predicts impending health problems and personal fragility.
It also enhances relationships. The NIP cites studies that indicate that play refreshes a long-term adult-adult relationship.
Some of the hallmarks of its refreshing, oxygenating action are humor, the enjoyment of novelty, and the capacity to share a lighthearted sense of the world’s ironies. Other hallmarks are the enjoyment of mutual storytelling and the capacity to divulge imagination and fantasies openly.
Playful communications and interactions, when nourished, produce a climate for easy connection and a deepening, more rewarding relationship – true intimacy. Who wouldn’t want this in a relationship?
Believe it or not, the blindfolded adults were actually working. This playfulness was part of the work activity. When finished, almost without exception, each person commented on how good it felt to play and how energized they felt. When they began to work on a project, many said they could feel high energy levels in the room.
Just as children need play to help them de-stress, play has so many benefits for adults! It can help them be at their best when it comes to career, parenting, and marriage. Instead of looking at play as a waste of precious time, consider it a great investment in well-being.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Adults_Play_Water-1.jpg9001400Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2017-08-24 00:00:002022-08-24 09:06:285 Benefits of Play for Adults