Automatically when moms read this post, I imagine they think I am going to say, “I love you.” While that is uber important for your kids to hear on a constant basis, there are three other words your kids need to heart too. They really do. These words, in my opinion, are some of the most neglected words in parenting today. But, it’s only a small part in winning your child’s heart — which is a major key to being successful on this parenting journey.
Kids need to know you love them. Yes, you should tell them. But actions speak “soul language” and are much more effective. Hugs, one-on-one time and using these three words are going to make a huge difference in your relationship with your kiddos — for the better.
So, practice these words with me. Ready?
“Let’s go play!”
Did you notice I said, “Let’s”?
Yep. That means YOU and your kiddos.
I didn’t say “Go play!” One word completely changes that sentence, and it’s the most important word of the sentence. Instead of sending your kids to go play, go with them.
This past Christmas my husband and I snagged our kids a camping tent. That tent stays up almost constantly and it’s a super-easy way to connect and have a pretend camping adventure with my kiddos. A few days ago I baked some no-fuss cookies and some popcorn. Then, I looked at my kiddos and said, “Let’s go play!”
We climbed into the tent, had some popcorn wars, played some hand-jives and just enjoyed some spontaneous, last-minute fun.
It didn’t cost a lot of time or money to invest in a simple adventure that made my kid’s day more memorable. In fact, after we finished playing my kids hurriedly followed me around exclaimed, “Mom! That was sooo much fun!”
Sure, I had to clean up popcorn and cookie crumbs, but it was worth the giggles and memories.
Just today my kiddos made a fun pillow fort (I bet you have pillows laying around your house.) They also pulled my cushions from the couch to make better walls for the fort — little stinkers! I couldn’t be left out, we had to play together! SO i joined in — and so did my husband! Pillow forts are the best!
Last night I was busy. I was stressed. I was tired. My daughter didn’t seem to notice as she asked, “Mom, can you play playdough with me?”
I have about seven reasons why I shouldn’t, but I had one GIGANTIC reason why I should. She needs me. She needs to know that I really do love her — not just with my words, but my actions.
I nodded and followed her upstairs where she had pulled out all the playdough, sorted them into two packs of colors each and placed a dry-erase board on the floor so we could play without getting sticky playdough mushed onto the tile.
After several dinosaurs, flower baskets and silly faces, we put the playdough away. I couldn’t help noticing the big grin on my daughter’s face. Imagine! It wasn’t lots of candy or a super-new toy that brought her that smile. Nope, it was the fact that I had spent one-on-one time with her.
I have to brag on my husband. He is the king of play when it comes to our kiddos. He has taken all six roller-blading, swimming and to play catch — all by himself. That’s rare! A man with six kiddos out playing and connecting! But that is the kind of man I married. He’s a great example to me and I often hear him say, “Let’s go play!”
Dear moms, if you’re not playing with your kids often, you are missing out on the sparkly fun of childhood and motherhood. It’s not all endless piles of laundry and baby goo! Go make a pillow fort, embark upon a pretend camping adventure in your living room and have some roller-blade races. You won’t regret it!