“Let Children Know They Count,” Ensign, Jan. 2000, 72–73
As a parent, I have often felt there isn’t enough time in a day. I have found, however, that by taking time to follow one easy formula, our family has greatly benefited: participate in one childlike activity each day with the children.
As simple as this may sound, my husband and I have found the rewards for taking time to play with our children more than worthwhile. Playing together has helped eliminate the so-called generation gap while building strong family ties. Family members have become better friends, and communication with our children has improved.
We have enjoyed many and varied spontaneous activities, such as reading a short story by candlelight, playing hide-and-seek, and roasting marshmallows in our fireplace. Once we laid a clean tablecloth on the floor and placed a popcorn popper in the center, removed the lid, and watched the popcorn fly! Other ideas: Take the family and your family photo album up into a tree house and reminisce about good times while looking at the pictures. Play kick-the-can or have a skipping contest. Color together. Have a pillow fight, chew bubble gum, or play basketball. When it rains, grab plastic bags for cover and go for a walk in nature’s wet wonderland.
There is no limit to the list of playful things you can do. Children have great imaginations, so include them in your planning. Even the simplest events can build fun memories. You may even wish to jot down each day’s playful activity. At the end of a month, join together and read about what you have been doing for fun.
If you get in the habit of doing one playful thing with your children each day, you will soon find tensions ease and love grows. Our own daily family fun time has made a significant difference in our home.—Cindy Parry, Garland, Utah