Affirm Your Child’s Heart Through Play Time
I’ve been watching for ways to encourage my kids while we play. When I play with them, usually it’s just play time. I try to focus on them and not think about the many things I need to do. We talk or tell jokes, but recently I’ve been thinking of something more significant.
The heart matters that even they don’t understand yet come up to the surface during our play time, and I want to be able to recognize them and show my kids that those needs can be met in a healthy, restorative, sweet way in our family. This is what I hear my children saying in our play time:
Pursue me – We all love to be chased. I think about young girls dating. When I was younger I didn’t really think about the qualities I was looking for in a boyfriend; I was more focused on who liked me. Who was interested in me? The lesser matter was if I was interested in him. When I see my children squeal and run away in a game of chase, I think about their need for someone to love them enough to come after them. So I chase them.
Embrace me – In that same game of chase, sometimes I’ll stop running and let them run back to me, my arms opened wide enough for them to fall into them. They will always be able to come back.
Tell me I’m pretty – Dressing up is a big act here, mostly in pink with lots of headbands, hats, and scarves. Costumes inspire funny poses and twirls. I know she’s always waiting for me to tell her, “You look beautiful, darling.” I can’t say that too often.
Lead me – When I say no, Daddy says no too. Those big eyes will look up at me and wait to see if I change my mind. We stand firm.
Affirm me – My one-year-old son is a helper. Instead of tossing Tupperware from the cabinets, he puts them into neat stacks for me. He helps me do laundry and put away the dishes. I can’t wait to see him grow into a responsible man. Like one friend said, when you talk to your son, “He’s not your little boy, he’s your big boy.” Always.