As a stretched-thin WAHM, you probably have trouble squeezing play time for your kids into your busy schedule. Most WAHMs find it difficult to strike a balance between work and play, and family and career. But there are some simple ways you can make play time a priority. Following are a few suggestions for adding play time for the kids to your daily life:
Go by the Park
If you are running errands with the kids and you have a few extra moments, stop by the park and play for a while. It's a special treat for everyone in the midst of getting things done. It can also be used to placate fussy kids as you go about your routine. "If you behave, we get to go to the park!" Everyone wins.
Have Afterschool Playtime
Once school lets out, give yourself and your kids some down time. Head to the playground, and play for half an hour or whatever you can spare. This helps wind your kids down after being cooped up in class all day, and gives everyone the opportunity to make that transition from work life to home life.
Make the Weekends Off-Limits
Everyone needs a break, so set aside the weekends as a "no-work" zone. Use the weekends as a time to reconnect with your kids and play, rather than time to get ahead at work. If you cannot spare the entire weekend, try making one weekend day a no-work zone, or even one afternoon. You'll be surprised at how refreshing it is!
Give Play as a Reward
Let's say your kids get out of bed without too much nagging and get ready for school with a minimum of fuss. How best to reward such stellar behavior? Let them play before school! Using play as a reward for getting ready quickly has a double benefit: your kids get the playtime, and you get the benefit of having them happy and ready for school on time.
Turn Work into Play
Play doesn't have to just mean toys. Household tasks can be made into games that involve the whole family. Have your kids help with cooking. See who can pick up the living room fastest. By making mundane chores fun, everyone enjoys pitching in, and you spend quality time together as well.
Have a Working Play Date
A working play date is another potential solution, especially for parents of younger children who aren't in school yet. Set up a rotating play date with another WAHM. When she has the kids, you get to work, and vice-versa. This gives both of you the benefit of play time with the kids, and valuable work time alone.
These are just a few of the ways you can incorporate play time for the kids into your busy schedule. Try using play for just what it should be--a break from your mundane routine and a chance to really enjoy the time you have with your kids.______________________________
Sarah Baker is a documentary filmmaker and writer currently living in New Bern, NC. Her first book, Lucky Stars: Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, will be published December 2009. Read more about her.