Let the Children Play

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Aside from a quick trip to the pediatrician (all are healthy, thank heavens), today has been a day of pretend play. It’s not uncommon actually. On days when we don’t leave the house, my daughters entrance themselves in an imaginary world – monsters, witches, fairies, babies, restauranteurs, artists, dancers, families, store owners, actors – their imaginations run wild. Any of my attempts to engage them in another activity, fail. Something tugs at me to engage them in something “more” meaningful and educational.

Then it dawns on me –

Who the heck am I to interrupt their work?

To put a pause on the very important work of their childhood to impose on them something that’s more easily learned their way than mine?

Who am I to speed them through their already too short childhood?

To stop them from having a day,  an entire fullf*cking day, where sisters are getting along?

Who am I to drag them here and there on my errands, to put check marks on my to do list and not let them take me along to the places their imaginations are begging to go?

So, I let them play.

I set aside the urge to do “more” and  relish in their wonder and creativity, their curiosity and their kindness – traits which must be nurtured not stifled, empowered not crushed. Characteristics which are the fertile ground for lifetime lovers of learning.

So I throw more Legos their way. I bring out our parachute to roof their make believe homes. I pretend to be Miss Clavel, ala Madeline, to lure them to eat and fuel their little bellies for more play- Two straight lines! Two straight lines! I give them imaginary tickets to attend their big show. I ask them questions about these made up worlds and listen, LISTEN, to what they’ve got to say. I join in the fun from time to time but mostly I just like to let them play.

I let them play…

Because there are days where I remember scolding more than laughing, “no” more than “yes” and “because I said so” more than “what do you think we should do” – I cuddle up to these days. A gift in the chaos of parenting.

I let them play because when they’re my age and think back to being little people, I want them to remember days of endless playing, of made up worlds and drunken laughter. I want them to remember spinning in circles and falling into a  heap on the ground, screaming and squealing and being terribly silly. There’s time enough for those “other” things. Right now. Today. It’s for play.

Note to self: Let the children play more.




Today really was a pretty magical day. I won’t have you believe, though, it was without it’s moments. To make it a near full day of sibling peace, I had to referee many a sharing debacle. And our perfect day was ended with a shitstorm fit from both girls. At the same time. It was a painful glimpse at what will happen when both of these little ladies PMS together. Not. Fun. After their fit, I told my girls they could feed themselves dinner. They had made poor choices while I was making dinner and it was too late to finish (and any later and we’d surely encounter more fits, these chickies were napless and exhausted). A huff and a puff later, big sister opened up yogurts for everyone and a cheese stick and we read. Then there were giggles and footie pajamas and bedtime kisses. All happily ever after and stuff. I was the fun mom and the not so nice mom. And bless their hearts, they still loved me at the end of the day.

Comfort this mama. What was the last tough call you had to make as a parent?

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  1. I totally agree! Both of my boys are very content to play on their own– making up things as they go along. I think it’s such a great skill. I know some parents that do so much with their kids, that the kids aren’t really that into playing by themselves. Somewhere is the happy medium! Great post!

  2. Lovely post. I think parents sometimes forget about the importance of just basic playtime between shuttling their kids from one activity to the other. Just let ’em play, I say!

    And I’m with you about giving in at dinnertime once in a while… sometimes mine will have a bowl of oatmeal or Cheerios when I just don’t want to fight any more battles. 😉

  3. Lovely post! andI agree with you that children need more time to play and do their thing. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Days like that are heaven! I have finally learned after years of parenting, to under no circumstance interrupt them when they are happily playing, especially when it is together! Definitely moments to savor.

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