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Enjoying Playtime As A Parent

5 Ways You Can Use Play to Relieve Stress

“Mom, will you play with me?”

Okay, let’s be honest…those words can be terrifying to some of us.

And this may make me sound completely terrible, but I kinda hate that question.

Or, at least, I used to hate it.

I remember when my girls would ask me to play…I would force the grimace from my face and replace it with a forced smile.

Then I’d proceed to gently tell them “Sure…right after I finish this, this, and this.”

See, it isn’t that I don’t like to play with my kids…I’m just not a fan of playing Barbies or baby dolls or anything else where you have to pretend to make a toy talk…

Plus, I’m an adult. We aren’t supposed to play, right?

But because I’m not completely heartless (and my kids have super cute faces), I always make time to play anyway.

And though I’d usually go into play thinking, this is why we had more than one kid…so y’all can play together…I’d usually leave the play session feeling happy and refreshed.

Well, over the last year, I’ve discovered something pretty amazing…

I actually don’t hate playing.

You see, I’ve found some common ground that I can share with my sweet babes, and that makes all the difference in the world.

But before I tell you my favorite ways to play…

Let me tell you why play is really important even when you’re an adult…

Somewhere between 20 and 30, we decide that we are no longer afforded the luxury of play.

And the little leisure time that we do carve out for ourselves typically consists of scrolling through Facebook or binging Netflix.

But as I wrote here, there is a difference between activities that disconnect us from reality and activities that refuel us for reality.

And that’s where play comes in. It is an excellent way to refuel for reality.

Play has been proven to relieve stress, improve brain function, boost creativity, build strong connections with others, and maintain youth.

But don’t take it from me. I’m not the only one who thinks play is beneficial.

Here are a few tweetables for you:

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. -George Bernard Shaw

and

The opposite of play is not work. The opposite of play is depression. -Dr. Stuart Brown

and

Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in life. -Brian Andreas

And while play is life-changing and really easy, it turns out that most adults are really bad at it.

So here are a few rules that will make you successful at play…

  1. Don’t set goals…the only mission is the experience.
  2. Enter childhood…don’t worry too much about rules as long as everyone is safe.
  3. Laugh a lot.

See, simple. Now with these three rules in mind…

Here are 5 Ways You Can Use Play to Relieve Stress…

#1.Bubbles…

These little liquid lovelies seem to “pop” all of the stressors right out of our minds.

Sitting on the porch blowing bubbles while your kids run around chasing them puts you in a sort of relaxed trance.

So next time they ask to play, grab a bottle of the kid-friendly bubbly and head outside.

#2.Play-doh and Putty and Slime…Oh, my!

This is one of my favorites. If you’re like me, you’re the parent of kids who LOOOOOOOOVE Youtube. And if that’s the case, you’ve probably caught slime fever.

Yes, it’s nasty and can be a mess if it gets in the carpet, but I’ll tell you what, when we stop what we are doing and make a new batch of slime, it. is. amazing.

It’s better than any stress ball I’ve ever had.

I feel the same way about putty and play-doh. I can sit at the table and create with the kids until we lose all track of time…

I highly recommend playing so long that you forget to make dinner and have to do takeout instead.

#3.Legos…

I was so excited when Gideon asked for these Legos for his birthday last year!

He ended up with several sets and after everyone went home, we sat at the table for an hour putting together new creations…an HOUR. And we both loved every minute of it.

4.Craft sets & Coloring…

My girls both adore crafts. When I discovered this, I was in heaven.

Now when they want to play, we usually end up busting out the glue gun and creating something together.

We’ve crafted Littlest Pet Shop bunkbeds, American Girl Doll accessories, homemade squishy toys, and more!

If you aren’t naturally creative but want to give crafting a try, maybe a set is what you need.

This is a good place to start…

We got this exact set last year, and it was a big hit!

I also love coloring.

There is no pressure…you’re just making something pretty.

And since adult coloring is uber mainstream now, you can find a coloring book based on literally anything you like.

5.Board Games…

I’ve always loved board games, and when I realized that my kids were getting big enough to play them, I was so excited!

What was your childhood favorite…Clue? Twister? Battleship? Life?

Pull them out and introduce them to your kids. They’ll love playing and you will, too.

Regardless of the kind of play you turn to, you’ll find that your stress melts away.

So next time you hear, “Mom, will you play with me?” Don’t run to the bathroom to hide.

Remember these 5 ideas and go play!

Originally published at loveyoumoreblog.com

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