Since the start of the year, my daughter, Sophie, has been asking me to play with her as soon as we get home from work. I think it has to do with her anxiety about entering primary one in a year’s time (the age where formal studies start in Singapore). The teachers in her childcare have been telling her that she’ll have no time to play because she’ll have homework from school.
Some days, I’m glad to put down everything and play with her. But on other days, I’ll tell her to play on her own so that I can get down to the household chores. And on one of those days, when I was tired and frustrated after a full-day’s work, I lashed out at her for not being able to play independently when I have a hundred-and-one chores to see to, only to have her respond in tears.
When I questioned why she was so upset, she told me in between sobs that all children like to play and she really would like mummy to play with her.
A missed opportunity to play with your child, is a missed opportunity to enter their world and bond with them.
I can sense that my daughter’s request to play with her is really her way of saying:
“I want to spend time with you mummy”
“I want to do things with you daddy”
“I want you to be beside me”
While I may have my own agenda of what bonding with my daughter means, taking her to the playground, playing Lego, doing craft work, cooking pancakes together, her request is simply to put down what I’m doing and play with her.
And how can I allow her childhood to slip by without being a part of it? After all, we may not always have these moments:
- when our child still wants to play hide and seek with us
- our child asks for yet another bedtime story
- they hug us with all their might to show that they really really really love us
- they tickle us with the silliest things they say and infect us with their contagious laughter till our belly aches
- their little hands reach for ours looking for security in the middle of the night
- they plant a kiss on our cheeks and whisper, I love you mummy, for no reason at all; which melts us over and over again
The next time your child asks you to put down what you’re busy with so you can come play with her, don’t turn her down. A missed opportunity to play with your child, is a chance missed to enter her world and create special memories together.
What are some of the ways you take time out of your schedule to spend quality time playing with your child?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our contributor in Singapore, Susan Koh.
The images used in this post are attributed to the author.