Last week a friend of mine emailed me this article from Slate. The piece, by Emily Bazelon, asks the question, why don’t parents like to play with their kids? I think many of us can agree that playing catch or baking some cookies is a nice way to pass the time with a beloved child. But when it comes to getting down on the floor and really playing, are you into it?
For me, it’s kind of like jury duty. I get the summons and I know I ought to do it, but on my way over I’m wondering if there’s anyway I can get out of it. I like watching my kid play. I love to eavesdrop on his chatter while he goes off on imaginary adventures. Developmentally, that’s what he’s supposed to do and I’m proud of him. But for me it’s been there, done that.
I can put up with it for a little while. Twenty minutes is what Bazelon says is about the norm for the parents she knows. But after that, my attention wanders and I drift away. Thankfully my son doesn’t seem to mind too much. He’s always been good at playing independently, lucky for me.
I do wonder though, how much down on the floor time should I be doing? Part of me thinks it’s not my job to play with him. Talking, hugging, reading, feeding, laughing, tucking into bed, etc. are all on the list. Do I need to be his playmate too? Do you all love to play with your kids? Am I a scrooge? Or is playing for kids?