There’s an interesting article on Mumsnet today with the subject line “do we have to play with our kids?”
The idea being that playing with children is boring and takes you, as a grownup, further away from your real adult life – which, if you spend your time looking after young children, is under threat already.
Well, I get that – I really do as a parent, and sometimes running a toy car round an unrealistic track is pretty dull and often there is something you’d rather (or really, really need to) do.
However, I also do a lot of stuff as a grownup that makes me think I’d rather be playing (cleaning the bathroom, for example, or filling in my tax returns).
That’s not really the point. The point is finding something that both you and your kids enjoy, and doing that together! Surely there must be something?
I’m not that keen on snap, for example, but I like a game of “it” as much as the next man. I could do without most soft-play rooms, but there’s one in the basement of the Science Museum that’s great fun – and while we’re there, we can see the moon lander display – and that’s something we can all enjoy.
Playing with kids is not about pandering to them – it’s about being one. It’s about joining them, for a while, in their world – and as you do so you can show them a little of what’s great about yours.
And, Ok, the poster does recognise that it’s Ok to play if you feel you want to – and that the problem with children’s play is that it’s repetitive (which it often is) – but if you don’t fully enter the conversation with them sometimes, then you’ll never really know what you have in common.
Yesterday, my eldest wanted to play top trumps – he would have done it all day, but instead, I worked out where he was going with his idea, and so instead, we made a top trumps deck for cheeses.
That’s right, we graded cheeses for a range of different attributes. He made the cards, and I did tastings. Win, win.