Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20 - When Play Comes to the Rescue

              Today the kids played quite a bit, even though I didn’t.  They spent the morning playing with friends at church and then we came home for rest time.  Jeff surprised us with coming home early for his birthday and we ventured out on an expedition.  Sometimes our adventures go smoothly, sometimes not so much.  While today was not necessarily bad, it didn’t go quite how we pictured it.  Nate and Elli ended up being more tired than anticipated and therefore moved very slowly and were whiny and competitive.  On our way back Nate’s foot fell asleep and he was complaining about it being prickly.  Elli chimed in that hers was prickly too.  I could feel my inner lion rising up; when Jeff said his feet were prickly too!  This totally silly comment tamed the lion and helped to set things right again.  David Elkind has a chapter in his book The Power of Play about lighthearted parenting and the use of humor.  I can totally relate.  Jeff’s over the top comment made Elli’s competitiveness and Nate’s whininess more bearable, even comical. 

Mr. Bear - the unsuspecting
superhero of our fabric store
                When we think about it play can often come to the rescue.  We had an example yesterday of going to the fabric store – not a task that I typically enjoy with two kids in tow unless we’re working on a specific project.  Yesterday I had to make up for a past oversight when getting some fabric for a dress I’m making Elli.  We had one specific item – theoretically an in, out, and done.  However, this is the fabric store and anything can happen.  On the way out of the car, Nate asked if he could bring his dog Tucker which triggered Elli to ask if she could bring Mr. Bear in.  Oftentimes this is a no, but in this case I was thinking if their hands were full then perhaps there would be less touching. We quickly found our fabric and then stood in line for 15 minutes waiting for it to be cut.  The kids, having their stuffies, proceeded to play nicely while we waited.  Play really did save the day! 

A couple of years ago I discovered play to be an incredibly helpful tool in the doctor's office.  I often bring a box of crayons for our wait.  The paper on the doctor's table makes a great canvas for some impromptu art that keeps little hands busy and helps little minds be less anxious.

Another great read on play:

Elkind, D. (2007). The power of play.  Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press.

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I'd love to hear about your adventures!