Paula at Beauty through Imperfection posted last year that she schedules playtime in her planner. She is a visual person and in her post says she likes to see tangible results (like after washing the dishes or doing the laundry). There is no start or stop to play. No measurement. She stresses its so important and shows love to her kids in a way that only playtime can, and that’s why for her personality she schedules it in her day.
When my boys were small I went through a phase where I would see everything around me, see them content playing and decide to do “chores” rather than read or pull out the play dough with them or even just sit with them while they played. After a few days my oldest, then 3, said ‘Mommy, you don’t play anymore.’ Major guilt trip and then I tried to be more intentional about being with them.
I knew I needed something to make sure I was intentional in at least one activity that I did with them each day. When they were toddlers it was a little easier to just write something on our white board and say we were going to do it, or to see them playing and just make a point of sitting down and playing with them (or just sitting and chatting with them while they played). Some days it was harder than others to concentrate on them and ignore the chores, but I would notice when I hadn’t spent enough time being intentionally with them. (Read whining, bickering, and other behavioral issues.)
When Cutie Pie was in pre-kindergarten only half day and got more interested in examining and discovering things I decided to step things up and not just play with him and his little brother, sit with them while they played, play outside or go on ‘field trips’, but invest in creating memories through activities thoroughly centered around their interests. This included needing to plan things out a bit more.
I came up with my Intentional Time Plan. It worked great for our home science projects, field trips (I wrote down a specific thing I thought they’d be interested in at our destination so we wouldn’t forget it) and even simple things like one-on-one time playing with LEGO.
You can see it’s pretty simple, but daily I took the time to write in one activity I wouldn’t give up on doing with them (unless they were totally not interested), listing the materials I needed to gather and writing in anything that was vital to making our activity work. Somehow writing it down made it seem more obtainable/important. It also helped me prepare for the week ahead when I went shopping!
Click here to download the Intentional Time Plan Template if you think it might help you!
~ Since I was thinking ahead a little bit it also allowed me to prepare for a possible activity before they woke up in the morning so I wasn’t scrambling around trying to pull something together only to have them lose interest before we even began! It really helped me connect with my inquisitive Cutie Pie!
Action: Please take a look and see if this is something small you can use to be more intentional in your days!
Let me know in the comments or on facebook what you think about this idea and what you can do to be more intentional in setting time aside for your kids.