The Play Tool challenges parents to release their inner-child and play with their kids–not just remind them to do their chores, not just bring them from Point A to Point B, not just get annoyed by their forgetfulness to do their homework, but get close, have fun, and play. Sometimes we as parents can be way too serious and stressed. The Play Tool reminds us that it’s OK to lighten up and laugh. It’s OK to be goofy and giggle. It’s OK to relax and react in a playful way. The more we play with our kids, the more we get to know them. The more we get to know them, the more respect we have for them. The more respect we have for them, the more respect they will have for us. Parents who respect their kids and kids who respect their parents…what a beautiful thing for our family and for the rest of the world!
It’s easy to apply The Play Tool. Just simply take more time to play with your kids. It does take intentionality to stop what you are doing and play. Put down your phone and play. Turn off the TV and play. Stop working, stop cleaning, stop worrying and play. Take just a few minutes to play and that will make all the difference. Here a few ideas:
- Have a daily family tickle fight or pillow fight (safety first).
- Turn pool noodles into light sabers and have a Star Wars fight.
- Have a squirt gun fight, leaf fight, or snow ball fight.
- Take turns making silly faces.
- Play a game—a board game, a card game, a ball game (football, baseball, basketball, tennis, golf, etc.)
- Tell silly jokes.
- Make up your own silly game with silly rules.
I was having a terrible day. When my oldest suggested a family pillow fight, I was thinking “that is the worst idea EVER and I absolutely have zero energy for that.” But I chose to play. Let me tell you…playfully whacking the crap out of my husband with a pillow never felt so good. I laughed so hard and had so much fun. And instantly my mood was better and it made my terrible day not seem quite so terrible.
A joyful heart is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22
No matter what is going on in our lives, we can choose joy. We can choose laughter. And when we choose to play with our kids, we find both…joy and laughter.