What is the value in offering our full attention to our child?
Why is it important to follow the lead of our child through his/her play?
So, this summer...My daughter started her own "Camp".
She wrote it on the calendar in advance so we wouldn't make other plans on that day.
Each "camp" is about an hour class, maybe 90 minutes.
"Who will we invite?" I ask.
"It's just for us, Mama...(meaning Me, her brother, and Dad when he's not working.)" she answers.
You may (or may not) be surprised but I sort of struggled with this weekly camp thing in the beginning.
Over the summer, I work part time. But, I typically work weekends on planning, prepping, and shopping for Wonder Studio and then spend Mondays and Tuesdays physically working Wonder Studio.
By Thursday (Camp day), I am definitely excited to have a little free time.
My daughter's camp is sort of demanding.
She expects her brother and I to be full participants.
It goes without saying that Phones are not allowed.
(I did manage to get a few pics, with her permission, of course.)
The first few "camps" were frustrating for all of us.
She wasn't quite satisfied with the "structure" of the camp, she really did not appreciate her brother's lack of enthusiasm.
She felt stressed when the hour didn't go the way she thought it would.
Gosh, it was gut-wrenching to watch her process this information each week.
She held strong though.
We talked about her frustrations.
We talked about ways to get her brother on board.
She began to adjust her plans as well as adjusting her expectations.
"Why don't we invite some of your friends to your camp?" I ask again and again.
I am thinking to myself...gosh, I feel silly playing Freeze tag in the front yard. She should be leading other kids, not me!
One week, she finally clarified it for me.
"Mama, I really want camp time to be "time" for just us. It's a way for me, you, and brother to spend time together every week."
Wow. Light bulb moment for me.
The funny thing is...I have always felt as though I offer my children a lot of my time.
I read them books each day.
We have great conversations at the dinner table.
We cook dinner together on occasion.
But, I realized that most of the time I offer...is lead by me and what I want to do with them.
My daughter craved time where she could lead.
My daughter asked for time where I would follow.
My daughter wanted our time spent in Playfulness.
Hey, wait a minute...this is sounding familiar.
I think I started a similar program...
Guys, it's no joke...that our children have sooooo much to teach us.I learn so much from my children each and every day.
What could an hour a week of your undivided attention offer your child?
Well...just a Lifetime of connection.
Following the lead of my daughter helped her to understand her role in our family.
Following the lead of my daughter showed her her own value to me.
Following the lead of my daughter allowed her to value our time together.
Following her lead didn't mean, I didn't have a say.
I offered her some constructive feedback.
After, my Vertigo attack earlier in the summer...she was disappointed (as was I) that I couldn't run around the house multiple times as she had planned.
She learned to adjust to modifications that her brother and I clearly presented.
Spending time in Play, not just routine or adult-led ideas is as important as making sure they brush their teeth.
Conversations at the dinner table are important.
Reading books with your children are key.
Play is the stuff of dreams.
Play creates memories.
Play creates Connections.
In a sense, my daughter just showed me the mission behind what I have been trying to do through Wonder Studio for the past 7 years.
There is tremendous value in offering your children a time and a place where they can Lead you in play.
Maybe, you feel silly like I did.
But, I promise you that the memory will sustain you through the coming years when our children will no longer ask us to play with them.
The sad truth is, they might even forget how we played with them.
But, I will not.
I will always know that there was a time when my daughter said, "I just want to spend time with you, Mama."
Thank you Darlin...thank you so much for your beautiful play.