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"Sometimes you need to stop working and make time to play," I said to my husband as he stood at the sink finishing up dinner dishes.
Did I really just say those words?
I believe those words with all my heart, but I've always practiced the exact opposite. No playing until all the work is done. We all know that the work is never done, which means, I rarely gave myself permission to cut loose when I knew there were tasks to be completed. As our kids got older and they didn't really want to play with me anymore, working long hours became easier and easier. My husband was the one telling me to make time for play in my life. He reminded me again and again that I can't work all the time. Life is too short and it must be enjoyed. And now, here I was saying those words to him.
Making time to play has become very important in our home. We are learning the importance of play in helping children with attachment disorder. Play, along with eye contact, safe touch, and a calm voice all help a child connect to her caregivers. She begins to know it's safe to trust the adults in her life.
So we play. Before bedtime means it's time to stop all work and we play together. Destiny rolls a die and depending on the roll, we either play a card game, do some yoga, draw or color together, write together, listen to a children's meditation, or do progressive relaxation.
Last night she rolled a 6, just what she wanted. It was time to play Go Fish with Destiny's new Shopkins cards. Keith left the dishes in the sink, I put away my classwork, and we played. I couldn't help but smile. Such a simple game brought so much joy to a little girl. Giggles erupted among all three of us and we all slowed down just a bit. The slowing down is what I savor most.
Creating a space for play has become more and more important to me.
I forgot how fun it was.
If you are interested in reading more about caring for children with attachment disorder, I highly recommend the following books.
Integrative Parenting by Wesselmann, Schweitzer, and Armstrong
The Connected Child by Purvis and Cross