This is what I say to my girls when the cries of "I'm bored!" or "I don't know what to play with!" get too annoying. "You have a sister to play with! I gave you each other!"
And actually, they're really good at playing with each other. I love hearing them have pretend tea parties and birthday parties, and run their little mom-and-pop general store outside, peddling in sticks and stones and dandelions. But sometimes it takes me refusing to pull out a board game or coloring book (or turn on a screen--grumble) to make them play by themselves. I think kids (mine especially, but I'm sure I'm not alone!) are getting too accustomed to having their days orchestrated by Mom and Dad, with activities and play dates, and the wide open spaces of children's play are getting limited.
I wrote about that for Vanderbilt's Wishing Well blog this month, starting with a typical scene in the Kelley house:
I was putting away the groceries one
evening, overhearing the shrieks of my 3- and 6-year-old kids through
the screen door as they played in the backyard. The baby was pulling
snacks out of the bags on the floor, while I hurried to get frozen foods
into the freezer after a way-too-slow, traffic-clogged drive home. My
husband was, surprisingly, still not home, and despite all the food I’d
just bought, I wasn’t quite sure what I would fix for dinner.
That’s when I heard the cries of my younger daughter from outside,
rejecting her big sister’s efforts to push her on the swing, demanding
that Mommy come push instead.
This is the sort of scenario when I, like most busy parents, usually feel a pang of guilt. Dinner
can wait, right? A good mom would eagerly rush to her child’s side and
push that swing, right? I should have been out there anyway, to make
sure no one gets hurt or kidnapped, right?
I’m learning, however, to quiet that voice and remind myself that
it’s okay for my kids to play by themselves sometimes. More than okay,
Read the rest on Wishing Well...