“Not now, Tommy, I’m busy.” “I can’t play, Mommy is on the computer.” “Go look at a book, I am on the phone.” I can’t even begin to imagine how many times I have said something like that to my children because I thought I was too busy. Sometimes, I really am busy doing a task that needs to be completed. Bills must be paid, dinner must be fixed, and so on. But probably much more frequently, what I am doing is really not that important. Certainly not as important as responding to my child’s plea for attention. Here are a few ways to answer that plea from your child.
Play with them! I don’t think you should play with them all the time. They need to learn to play independently and with siblings. But, sometimes, they need to play with adults. Have a tea party or throw a baseball around. Every child’s interests are different, but it isn’t too difficult to find something to do that is enjoyable to both you and your child.
Include them in your essential tasks. If you are fixing dinner, let them help stir items or set the table. If you are paying bills, they can put stamps on the envelopes. Use your imagination and be proactive in thinking of ways to involve them in your activities. This interaction can help them learn how to do simple tasks. It can provide you with help with everyday tasks; even though initially it may not seem like the task is any easier with the help. Also they are getting to spend time with you.
Tell them you will play together later. Set a time to play later – and then do it! Setting a time to play together will help them to learn patience. They will also gain an understanding that there are some things that simply must be completed.
My children are older now and don’t ask me to play with them very often anymore. But, we do still get to spend time together. I hope they will remember the times we spent playing and working together more than the times I was too busy! In the long run, a child is way more important than updating a Facebook status or checking emails.