Nov 7, 2018

Why Playing With Kids is Actually Good for Stress & Anxiety

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Being a mom is a lot of work and finding time to play with kids at home is difficult, but there are so many good ways to do it and also huge benefits.
"Mom!  Will you play with me?"  "Mom!  Will you help me set up a pretend castle so my carriage can drive to it?"  "Mom do you want to be the teacher or the bus driver?"  If you are a mom then you probably have had similar questions asked.  

How on earth do my kids expect me to get the laundry and dishes done if I play with them?  How am I supposed to dust, vacuum, sweep, and the million of other things that it takes to keep a house semi-functional PLUS play with my kids? 

If I tell them no then I get this other feeling that creeps in....GUILT!  This has been a struggle for me since I became a mom six and a half years ago.  

Do you want to hear why I titled this post "Why Playing With Kids Is Actually Good for Stress & Anxiety"?  Everything above tells me the opposite.  I don't have TIME to play with my kids.  Why can't they just play with each other and let me clean up the mess that they just made.  Am I the only one that thinks like this?

I have talked to other moms who feel the same.  However, I want to tell you something that I have discovered through LOTS of mindfulness research and also through putting it to practice and using it in my own life.  Playing with kids will actually help you get things done more efficiently.  You will be more at ease to go throughout your day.  You will feel happier and have less stress.

I am sure some of you are rolling your eyes right now at your computer or phone, but I want you to hear me out.  It was about 2 years ago that I started doing something I call "Hannelore/Mommy Time" or "Isla/Mommy Time".  They also do it with their daddy when he isn't gone for work.

This is a special time that is one on one with each of my girls.  I put my phone away and I let them choose what we get to do.  I have been very surprised with all the things my kids come up with.  Their imaginations are amazing.

Why Playing With Kids is Actually Good for Stress & Anxiety

Some key points to having this be successful
  1. Set a timer.  That way you know that you can give your full attention for that amount of time.  Let your kids know that when the timer goes off you are free to go and they can keep playing that activity or move on to something else. 
  2. PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY.  No phones are allowed.  This is a time to be completely in the present moment with your child.  
  3. Let your child decide what they get to do during the time they get with you.  Don't dictate anything.  If they are super stumped then you can give them suggestions. 
  4. Try your hardest to do this daily. 
  5. For younger kids they need more time to see the benefits.  I suggest until about 8-12 years old shoot for 20 minutes a day.  I sometimes break that up into 2 sessions if that works better.  Depending on your child you could reduce this to 10 minutes after they are older.  
Benefits from doing playing with kids
  1. Your kids will start acting better.  Seriously, most kids through fits or have attitude problems because they want attention.  This is a great way to give them your undivided attention daily, especially when it is unstructured like playing with toys.  
  2. So much research has been put into to mindfulness activities and how it reduces stress/anxiety/depression.  The biggest thing with mindfulness activities is to be in the present.  What better way to be present than to pretend and use your imagination with your child.  
  3. There will be a stronger bond between you and your kids. 
  4. You will get to know your child better. 

Now like I said, you want the kids to pick the activity that you do together.  If they are stumped then you can guide them, but try not to do this very often.  I like to have toys in my home that are imaginative.  I like toys from both real situations (house, school, park, zoo) and fantastical (present day dinosaurs, unicorns).  I also like high quality toys that have great attention to detail.  I like things that can grow with my kids as well.  If you don't buy these types of toys then you will be buying toys all the time because they break or they grow out of them so fast.  If they can't use their imagination with them then they get bored easily. 

I found a toy that we have been loving from PLAYMOBIL.  We have a few PLAYMOBIL toys, but my oldest has been wanting a school bus for over a year now.  PLAYMOBIL has one and it isn't just a bus.  The PLAYMOBIL bus has all the bells and whistles too.  It fits the description above perfectly.  I was also very happy with the price.

Hover over the image above to start shopping for PLAYMOBIL toys!

Want to hear something even better?  Although PLAYMOBIL toys are classic, they are new to Walmart.  So now you can find these awesome toys at Walmart while you are getting all your other shopping done.  How convenient is that?!  Have you ever shopped in the Walmart toy department?  I usually do not like toy departments because they aren't organized enough for my liking, but Walmart clearly marks everything and I always have an easy time finding the sections because of the signs.

Why Playing With Kids is Actually Good for Stress & Anxiety
Look at all this attention to detail that I love, but it doesn't go unnoticed by my daughter either.  The lights flash.  The roof comes off to get the people in there easier.  AND they even have a place to have the people "hold" on so when you drive the bus around they stay in their seats.  It comes with 4 people AND there are even little backpacks for the students. 

Why Playing With Kids is Actually Good for Stress & Anxiety

Why Playing With Kids is Actually Good for Stress & Anxiety
I love this set because my daughter and I pretend to be the little people and we go pick up the kids at the bus stop and then bring them to school.  We have even taken them on pretend field trips (the most recent a zoo that we set up).  I like seeing her interact with these pretend people because she doesn't get to ride the bus to school.  So it helps her develop social and emotional skills through play as well. 

So next time your kids ask you to play with them think about it before saying no so quickly.  Playing with your kids is not just another thing to do.  It is actually important for both you and your child!

There is a great resource that shows all the different ways moms are playing with their kids with PLAYMOBIL toys.  Check out all these amazing ideas.  You won't run out of ideas.

Being a mom is a lot of work and finding time to play with kids at home is difficult, but there are so many good ways to do it and also huge benefits.

1 comment:

Lindsey said...

This is so awesome! Such a great way to strengthen your bond with your child and help them grow their imaginations. Love this!!

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