slow down, stop and play with your children

If you’re a parent you’d know how busy we are.

Our brain never stops thinking about what needs to be done next…the dinner that needs to be made, the laundry the needs to be done, our endless to-do list…we are always go go go.

So many times while I’m in a middle of a task, Elle would come running towards me with a smile on her face, ‘mama, come play’.

Play with me - children photography vancouver

80% of the time I reply ‘sorry Elle, I have to make dinner/feed your brother/wash the dishes.’

I feel really guilty when I decline her invitation and I justify it by making myself believe that I have to get dinner on the table or that the task really needs to be done right now.

Then I read this.

When we are too busy doing things to accept our child’s invitation to play, to truly listen to our partners or to simply be with our family, we miss out on the beauty and connection that those moments have to offer us.  – Sarah Joseph, Prenatal to Parenting

And I am reminded that not only am I missing out on playing with my daughter, I am missing out on connecting and bonding with her, missing out on strengthening my relationship with her, missing out on her childhood and most importantly, I am missing out on my daughter’s life.

Wow, how is that for making one change their behaviour?

play with your children - children photography vancouver

And so, this week I’m practicing slowing down and stopping. Here is what happened…

Several times this week, when Elle asked me to play with her while I’m in the middle of a task, I stopped what I was doing and let her hold my hand as she guided me away from my chores to her play area. I was present the whole 3 minutes of us playing together, after which she decided to move onto something else (maybe she got bored with me?) and I was able to return to my task.

One evening while I was cleaning up dinner and wiping the table, I heard laughter coming from Elle’s room. I heard my husband and Elle playing silly games with each other and having a good time together. It immediately reminded me of a quote…

The purpose of a task is to strengthen the relationship.   – Davina Fear

I decided in that second that wiping the table by myself is not strengthening any relationship…so I dropped the cloth and joined their silly games. We played, laughed and cuddled…a beautiful moment that would’ve been missed if I didn’t stop.

playdoh - children photography vancouver

This practice of slowing down and stopping is teaching me to not get too caught up with the daily grind. There will always be more dishes that needs to be washed, another meal to prepare or another to-do list to tick off. This moment with my family that I’m invited to is a blessing and it’s invitation is time sensitive.

I need to accept these invitations to connect with my children – this is one way they feel loved and know that they matter.

And with that, I’m going to end with this quote. (I know, I’m just full of them)

My life will not be “better” when I’ve crossed something off my to-do list. My life is perfect, right now.   – Jesh de Rox

This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about Slowing Down. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of Practicing Presence.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Small Things Often
Sarah from Prenatal to Parenting realizes the small moments are the ones that matter the most.

Slow Down- Peaceful Parenting Challenge – Week 4
Katrina from Kalem Photography calls her week a complete failure.

Slowing Down
Ricky from Daddy Blogger says slowing down doesn’t come naturally.

A Work in Progress
Verena from Memory Maker Events builds in some time for herself.

What Really Matters
Kathryn from Curiosity and the Kat realizes it is the little things that matter and help to put our life into perspective.

Time to Play
Michelle from My Peaceful Parenting feels like a bit of a cheater.

Slow and Steady Wins
Lolly from My Journey Home questions what are we all rushing towards.

Kerrie Mendoza -

What a beautiful post – really loved reading it. Just today I overhead my boys say to each other that they were too busy – a good reminder that we need to take that out of our vocabulary and take that time to play with them.

Daniela Duriavig -

Sometimes I think kids are the wisest. We just need to follow their lead sometime.

Matthew Tsang -

Great post! Really enjoyed the final quote you ended off with. Although I’m not a parent yet, I believe that concept is relevant to anybody.

Paula Schuck -

This is lovely. I spent so so much time doing this kind of thing when my girls were babies and toddlers and preschoolers and now that they are tweens it’s hard to remember they sometimes still need the same Face time. Great post!

Slowing Down -

[…] Stop, Amy Stop. Amy from The Connection We Share accepts her family’s invitation to slow down and finds that life will not be “better” when items get crossed off to-do lists. Life is perfect, right now. […]