Here’s how I play pretend with my kids. The secret? I pretend to enjoy it (and them).
Bahahahaha! The End.
Did you think there was more to this? Did you think I was going to offer up some stellar parenting expert-type advice? You would be wrong, but then again, you are usually wrong because you are a parent and if you are anything like the rest of us, you screw up ALL. OF. THE. TIME.
Okay, enough with the jokes, right? Actually, no. Because guess what? HUMOR is your best parenting tool! (It is also your best marriage tool and best life tool.)
Humor does so very much for your mindset, and it does so very much for your heart. It also does some crappy stuff to your face like giving you laugh lines, but OH. FREAKIN.WELL.
Back to the topic at hand—and my amazingly unique and practical suggestions for how to play pretend with your children. I’ll break this down into a few easy steps.
Step 1: Pretend to enjoy your children.
You thought I was kidding, but I’m not. The truth is that as parents, we don’t always appreciate our children. We love them with all we have in us, yes, but still, we don’t always enjoy them.
It is not always easy to be fond of someone who talks back to you or who poops in a diaper that you have to repeatedly change. Or, how about someone who sasses you as she “comes into her own”, or who moves at the pace of a snail just to irk you, or tells you “no” just because they can.
Step 2: Step away from your phone.
Further back, keep going, keep going. Don’t look back.
Nobody likes your status update, hearting your ridiculously filtered and staged image or letting you know that you won their massive giveaway. Put your phone down, and you will force yourself to be more present.
Fewer distractions equal more attention for your children, and we all know what attention does for us, right? It makes us happy, and it will do the same for them.
Step 3. Feed off those smiles.
While I don’t literally encourage you taking a bite out of your children, pay attention to the smiles you create and what it was you did or what activity you engaged in that evoked the smile. Play off of that.
Keep going with what they find joyful. Did you hear that? With what they find joyful, not you. Remember, this is about your child, not you.
Step 4. Share snacks.
Speaking of feeding, eat something! Food makes everyone happy, at least in my family. Enjoying your children and playing with them will only be successful if you are not h-a-n-g-r-y. Feed that motherhood beast and your child, and maybe you will both get along a little better.
Step 5: Actually enjoy your children.
Yep, now that you have completed steps 1 through 4, you can indeed find pleasure in playing—pretend or otherwise—with your little spawn.
Who knew that pretend play could be so easy? Surely not me, but now I’ve got the tools for success.
Who will I pretend to be today? Anything other than a tired, cranky witch of a mom will probably suffice!