Playful Intentions for Serious Parents

Playful Intentions for Serious Parents

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

You can tell when someone has a playful spirit.

They just exude fun.

This is my grandmother, even now as she enters her 80s.

Always telling jokes. Always playing games. Always making us laugh.

Tipping us over when we were crouched down on the floor. If we whined, she’d ask, “Do you want a little cheese with that wine?”

Even now, when something really silly happens in our house, we often say, “That’s a Mom Mom thing.”

My mom, however, didn’t inherit that playful gene. She liked to take long walks with me. We cooked together. We talked.

But play? Not much.

Here’s the thing: It’s not easy to let go, be silly and surrender to being playful in life – as we learned last week when I posted a reader’s question on my Facebook page. The responses were incredible. So many moms admitted that they cannot stand to sit on the floor and play with their children, particularly imaginary play that forces our minds to leave our current state of mind and enter an unknown, uncertain and intangible fantasy world.

Researchers say that the main reason adults do not play is because of how serious our culture is about hard work and being productive.

Sound familiar?play

But, researchers also say that play is just as important for adults as it is for children.To live an awakened lifestyle, you need to let go and live a little and when you do that, the play will come more easily.Is there a rule that says we’re bad moms if we don’t play?No way.

I happen to be a big fan of playing. But, I’m also a big fan of sending my kids off to play by themselves or with the neighbors because all kinds of play is good for them — and good for me.

Being more playful in your life — is as much a part of waking up and letting go as we can be. This is the epitome of being Awesomely Awake. When we let go and find our happy place, we’re happier. When we’re happier, we’re better parents and partners.

You just have to know what play makes you happy. If creating artwork alongside your children makes you happy, that’s playing. If playing chase or jumping in leaves makes you happy, that’s playing. If dressing up and dancing silly dances makes you happy, that’s playing. If telling jokes and tickling your child makes you happy, that’s playing. If lying in the grass and finding shapes in the clouds makes you happy, that’s playing.

Playing is simply just living in the moment at your most happiest state. It’s when we feel most alive.

Click to tweet the above!

But, if you want to be a playful parent and you’re not … it’s not hopeless for you.

Like starting any good habit,  learning to play takes practice. That means changing a few mindsets about what play is and how we work it into our days.

It means we must set intentions and try to stick with them.

Each day, when you wake up, you can set the tone for having a playful day by creating your own playful intention — or you can use one of these below!

Here are 14 Playful Intentions for Serious Parents:

  1. I will tell jokes today.
  2. I will laugh more today.
  3. I will act silly today.
  4. I will be open to playful experiences today.
  5. I will choose play over screen time today.
  6. I will take 15 minutes to play today.
  7. I will relax more in my day today.
  8. I will smile more today.
  9. I will plan to make my children laugh today.
  10. I will surprise my family by being playful today.
  11. I will think like my child today.
  12. I will work less and play more today.
  13. I will choose play over my to-do list today.
  14. I will remind myself that play is living and I want to live more fully today.

And, here are some Play Resources to get you thinking.

25 Ways to Just Be with your Children

Play, Creativity and Lifelong Learning

22 Ideas to Get You Outside & Playing with your kids

Or, you can read my e-book, “The Playful Family,” which has nearly 100 ways to play, connect and engage — without having to turn into a pirate!

How about you? What inspires you to play, even when you’re exhausted? What resources do you rely on to play more with your children or to play as an adult? What play do you enjoy? What can’t you stand?

 

Play Photo Credit: Pulguita via Flickr

13 Responses to Playful Intentions for Serious Parents

  1. Wonderful. W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L. I did not inherit the playful gene. In fact, I think my mom had so much of it that it embarrassed me and overwhelmed me that I intentionally became the opposite. I am trying to change but oh do I like being productive! Today we all needed a break. We had a dance party. It was awesome. Then we all needed to get some energy out so we got on bouncy balls and bounced around the kitchen. I fell on my tush. It was hilarious. I needed that. But what I love most is that play is what makes us happy in the moment. You wrote about that so well. Thank you. Thank you for making me feel okay for not being traditionally playful and thank you for giving me ideas to be more playful.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I found your post on Pintrest! What a wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing that! I will play tomorrow! :)

  3. Minette says:

    Shawn, I could not have asked for a better reply – as always very well written, speaking directly to the heart <3

    I have come to the realisation that even though I did not think so, I actually play with my children a lot! It may not always be the kind of play that makes THEM happy, but we're learning together – TOGETHER – that sometimes Mommy chooses the play and sometimes they do. We are getting better at it. Being happier in the moment. All of us.

    Thanks also to all the people who replied on the Facebook page – there was great support, much advice and lovely messages.

  4. Amy says:

    Nothing gets my “monkey mind” going like engaging in imaginary play with my children! Usually, as soon as I start to play a million things I should and could be doing start to fill my brain. Recently, though, I’ve started devoting more time to yoga and meditation and I’ve found I’ve been able to actually play with my children in a way I have never been able to do before!

    • Shawn says:

      It’s all in the slowing down and letting go … yoga, meditation — even reading contributes to our stress level reducing. Making us more playful. Now, we know … we just have to do it!

  5. katepickle says:

    Loved this post…
    I often notice when things seem really hard and I feel really stretched… those are the times when I’ve forgotten to just let go every now and then and be silly, or join in, or just sit and cuddle…

  6. AndynMandy Yearwood Gang says:

    Play more!

  7. Torrey Wilkins says:

    Thank you for this reminder! My husband is better at being playful than I am. I find I need to be well-rested and and the right mood to really play, but I am getting better. This morning when my youngest said we should walk like penguins across the church parking lot (it was cold!) I went right along with him. He was the same child who, when his twin brother was in a sour mood, said “do something silly and he’ll stop crying.” He was right. I made a silly face and he started laughing. I love when my kids teach me things about parenting!

  8. […] But, it can be equally as important to remember to be playful. […]

  9. […] 4. Join in their fun — I wrote a book called The Playful Family so naturally playing is going to make this list. In fact, get off the sidelines and stop watching now and then and join in on their fun. Let them do your  hair. Draw with them. Take a walk. Or play a sport. Living in the moment is the purest form of intentional parenting. Playing like this takes work. So, I gave you a Yes Meditation and a whole list of Playful Intentions for Serious Parents. […]


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Shawn Fink - Abundant MamaFrom Our Founder

I created The Abundant Mama Project to inspire overwhelmed, busy mothers to slow down and let go of the worries and concerns that are holding them back from experiencing joyful motherhood. Read More »

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