Be A Little Selfish When It Comes To Activities For Kids
By Aruna Bewtra
When my daughter was about two and a half, we fell into a rut, though I didn’t recognize it at the time. I loved her, obviously, and looked forward to spending time with her each day. Yet, something was … off.
Often, I would suggest that we spend our time together doing activities I knew my daughter enjoyed. I always chose educational, enriching activities, such as watching her favorite pre-school learning shows, doing puzzles, or colouring together. All of these activities for kids are fine (and can even be entertaining) for the adult participant … the first ten times. However, after a dozen tries at the same puzzle, I was ready to just glue the pieces down and never look back. It seemed as if everything my daughter enjoyed, I tired of within a week.
I mentioned my problem to one of my favorite aunties, who quite succinctly said, “You’re bored. And you’re bored because you aren’t having fun. You guys need to find things to do where you both are having fun.”
But, I complained, my daughter was two and just learning to test limits; we were toilet training; things were haaaaard now.
“All of that will fade away, if you are having fun, too.”
I thought about that, and there really weren’t many activities for kids that were fun for both of us. Certainly there were some things, such as cuddling and tickling at bedtime, but when I tried to make a list, well, the list was quite short. And if I was being honest with myself, many of the things she enjoyed doing I found massively dull once the novelty wore off.
I set about finding activities that both of us enjoyed: swimming together, finding new books to read together, listening to music we both liked, and exploring nature parks. I realized that I really was more patient, more willing to let little things slide, when I was having fun right along with her. And she was more willing to explore new things with me once she saw me calmer, more relaxed, and enjoying myself.
Over the years, this pattern has repeated itself over and over and over. One day, I’d just think to myself: We are in a rut again! What worked six months ago doesn’t work anymore. That TV show we both loved watching; we’re over it now. Bedtime reading—she’s ready to do that on her own . Or, I simply cannot watch another Disney film! Then, I know it’s time to branch out again, to start exploring and see what works for us, what we both enjoy together … now. There’s an old saying about parenting: “The days are long, but the years are short.” But I have found that exploring ways to have fun with my child, both of us, together, helps make the long days fly by.