.

Drop everything and play!

I’ve learned that being an uber-busy, multitasking, working mom sends my kids one strong message. My most prized asset? Time. So where does "play" fit in?

Who knew that 20 minutes of kicking the soccer ball around with mom would produce that much happiness for my fifth grader? No more complaining that this was the most boring, worst day ever and there was “never anything to do.” No more frustration on my part either.

I’ve learned that being an uber-busy, multitasking, working mom sends my kids one strong message. My most prized asset? Time.

When I prayed about how to push through the negative frustration that sometimes bubbles up in our home, the answer I got was to give them my time. Not one eye on them and the other on my iPhone, the dinner, or my laptop, but totally focused one-on-one interaction.

That's not always an easy feat, but I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be oodles of time and it shouldn’t always be according to my schedule. It’s one of the best ways to say, “I know this makes you feel loved and connected.”

When I dropped what I was doing on that recent spring afternoon to help my son practice for his upcoming Framingham United Soccer Club (FUSC) soccer tryouts, I again saw the power of giving my time freely. And I got my work done later without any grumbling from my son.

I have to model this principle of balancing time every day if I want my kids to learn how to manage their own schedules. I try to help them see that time spent texting or Facebooking takes discipline and balance so it doesn’t pull them away from homework and relationships.

In her article, Eight ways to help your child be mentally healthy Dr. Claire McCarthy lists “spend time with your child” as the #1 way to promote their mental and physical health.

She also lists monitoring their media. And one of my favorites at #2: “have family dinners.” Despite our very busy schedule, we make a point of sitting down to a healthy meal together nearly every night.

Isn’t there a saying that “families who pray together, stay together”?

Just like playing with my son dissolved his grouchiness, I’ve found taking regular time for prayer and quiet peaceful moments with my Creator solves the nagging issues of life that would otherwise hang around.

If we see prayer as an activity that is creative, even playful – rather than work – it can take on new vitality. A friend once said she studied her daily Bible citations by singing them, rather than reading them! Wouldn’t God want us to bring creativity and spontaneity to our prayerful routines, too?

A website that offers help for resolving health challenges affirms that for children and adults “play isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. Play is as important to our physical and mental health as getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising.” (Play, creativity, and lifelong learning–Why play matters for kids and adults).

So go ahead. Play!

“For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55: 12)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joanne Greenman May 22, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Fabulous! Thanks Ingrid!
Jim Rizoli May 22, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Ingrid......I do enjoy your comments. You do know that Framingham is one of the most liberal, and God mocking towns around? The most liberal of the liberals. Christianity and it's morals are non existent, Half the Jews are Atheists and the churches are liberal social meeting sites. The schools defend all that is Anti-God, but other than that it's a great town if the Rule of LAW was followed. I am glad to see you're trying to break through the divide. I would actually be more involved in the spiritual side of life (like you) but due to the fact the unbelievers outnumber the believers 99-1, I pretty much sit and watch the show, and what a show it is. Jim@ccfiile.com
Ingrid Peschke May 22, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Jim, That hasn't exactly been my experience with those I know in Framingham, but the world is so small now that I'd say we're all bigger than our town and the beliefs in it, right? I say live your spirituality and then your numbers will be 99-2 :)
Gina Fishman May 22, 2012 at 03:29 PM
This hits home on so many fronts..thanks Ingrid for writing this!
Jim Rizoli May 22, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Ingrid.....Seems like the numbers are growing.....You might of started something here. Actually there are a lot of good people in the town. They just don't say much. Jim@ccfiile.com
Ingrid Peschke May 22, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Thanks, Gina! Are you a busy mom, too?
Gina Fishman May 22, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Why yes, Ingrid, I wear that hat as well :)
Gina Fishman May 22, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Hi again, just read the article you posted -- it is great! Need to make a printout of it so I can refer to it whenever I'm feeling that I don't have the time. As some very important folks in my life say...if it is important enough, you will make the time for it. So true!
Ingrid Peschke May 22, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Very true, Gina! :)

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