I still remember playing house or school with my friends when I was younger. My choice was either to be a mom or a teacher. The made-up scenarios during play time were abundant. Even though I remember a time when I used my imagination in play every day, it took me a while to get back into it with my daughter. I tend to find myself trailing off thinking about how much I need to get done, or pulling out my phone to check my weekly meal plan pick for the night. One day I thought, "Why can't I just let my inhibitions go and have this full-blown princess tea party without getting bored or distracted?"There really was no profound conclusion to my self-posed question. Basically, I just realized that I needed to allow my brain to turn off the "adult to-do list" or whatever else was distracting me, and follow my sweet little girl's lead! We have been having a few picnics a day, and I often have to walk around the house with her baby doll treating it as if it were a living child. Although I do love watching her imagine and discover on her own, it is SO fun watching her excitement when her parents join in. So here are two simple tricks that have helped me let my imagination soar enough to whole-heartedly play with my girl.
Schedule your imagination-infused playtime
I am a planner gal. I sit down every Sunday and write out my plan for the coming week. It was just last month that I had the idea to start scheduling in the time I would spend playing with my daughter one-on-one. It has worked so well!! As I check things off my planner in the morning, I get to look forward in the day and mentally prepare to drop everything and become the hopping bunny with ears (or whatever it may be) at a specific time within that day.
Not a planner person? Another thing to try is using your phone! Plug in a reminder or alarm that reoccurs on certain days to let you know it is imagination time! Remember, being present while your child plays, and actually getting down on the floor and joining them in their princess world means so many different things for their development!
Temporarily lose your phone
Yeah, yeah, I know I just told you to use your phone to remind you to play. But, once that alarm or reminder goes off, let the phone take a hike. Leave it in the kitchen or bathroom, somewhere you most likely won't be playing with your sweet little one. Unplugging is something that we hear a lot of these days. I get caught "being productive" on my phone by my daughter all the time, while I should be taking a sip from my teacup! Even if I flip the phone over so I don't see the light, and put it out of arms reach in the same room, I end up on it. You may say you are just checking the weather, buuuut then you move to Instagram and Snapchat without even thinking twice.
If I get distracted while playing with her, my daughter says, "Come on mom, let's play!" It is the cutest thing, and really not something I can resist! She is much more important than trivial things on my phone anyway, right?