Can I confess something? I don’t always like playing with my kids. Sometimes just the thought of being the “bad guy” while Spiderman ties me up in his invisible web one more time makes me want to scream.
Chasing kids around the house playing another round of “Getchu me” . . . pretending to be LEGO characters I don’t know or care about . . . painting yet another picture of yet another rainbow . . . oy!
Sometimes it’s all I can do to muster up even the tiniest amount of enthusiasm needed to engage in their imaginative world.
But you know what? I do it.
And you know what? When I choose to muster and engage, I actually end up having more fun than I thought I would. It’s still an effort. But it’s an effort I’m willing to put in each and every day.
Because spending time with my kids isn’t about me. It’s about them.
My time says:
“You are significant.”
“I love you.”
I’ve learned no matter what we do, the most important thing is that we are together—building a close, positive relationship that will carry on way past this whole rainbow, LEGO, “Getchu Me” phase.
And can I confess something else? As much as I’d like to stay in this selfless state of “It’s all about them” and giving my time to my kids freely is such a sacrifice—I have to admit, there are benefits for me, too.
I get to know the heart of some pretty great kids who are blessings from God.
I get to witness behavior improve, anxiety lessen, and joy reign more and more in my home.
If my gift of time does all this for me and my kids, I’m going to keep giving it! Won’t you join me?
Oh and if you’re sick of being the “bad guy” with Spiderman, too, here are some other ideas to connect with your great kids.
- Each month, do something special on the days of the months they were born.
- Have a tickle fight.
- Find a book that has a movie to go with it. Read the book together every night. Then watch the movie when you’re finished. (I highly recommend Wonder for older kids!)
- Go on a nature walk.
- Learn to play the guitar on YouTube.
- Learn a new language.
- Learn how to draw cartoon characters.
- Splash in puddles.
- Rub their backs.
- Do the same 4 bedtime questions every night to talk about their days.
- Plant a seed in a cup and watch it grow.
- Tell them what makes them unique and why you love that about them.
- Help them with their homework.
- Bake cookies.
- Go to the store and pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try.
- Go out for ice cream.
- Make up a new recipe.
- Make homemade slime—glue, laundry detergent, baking soda.
- Play freeze tag.
- Play in the sand box.
- Train for a 3K, 5K, or even a marathon.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter.
- Make up your own story and illustrate it. You could even make it into a book.
- Put together a model airplane.
- Make a Play-Doh creation.
- Go to a school activity.
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
- Make a list of your top 10 things you love about them and share it with them at dinner time.
- Plan a dream vacation—even if it is just in your imagination.
- Play a sport.
- Organize a canned food drive in your neighborhood.
- Write a song.
- Read poetry.
- Sing and dance around the kitchen.
- Make a special breakfast for them on Saturday mornings.
- Decorate your house for each season with construction paper.
- Set up a lemonade stand.
- Play card games—Uno, War, Go Fish, etc.
- Let them skip school and go see a movie with you instead.
- Do a puzzle.
- Plant a tree.
- Look through their baby books and tell them stories about when they were babies.
- Make their baby books—it’s never too late (I helped my mom make my baby book when I turned 40!)
- Paint their bedroom a new color together.
- Make home repairs together.
- Color or paint a portrait of each other.
- Go to the zoo.
- Tell jokes.
- Make silly faces to see who can make the other laugh first.
- Memorize a Bible verse and use it to encourage each other.
- Tell them stories of your childhood.
- Give them a hug every morning and every night and every time you see them.
- Tell them every single day: “I love you no matter what.”
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