In case you weren’t paying attention, this Sunday is Mother’s day. (Quick buy a gift!)
In celebration of this event, it is my honor to introduce Dolls, Dragons, and Daily Life’s first Guest Blogger: My Mom.
A child’s work is to play. Both young children and older children learn through their play. When children are not allowed to play they do not fully develop into a well-rounded adult. Having taken many childhood development courses before having children I was blessed to know these things.
I was allowed to play a lot as a child. I had both structured play and free play. With my wild imagination, the free play was of course, my favorite. I have many fond memories of the games we would make up and play. I was from a large family and lived in a neighborhood with many children, but there were times when no one was able to play. During these times, I would find ways to entertain myself through play. As I grew older, my friends quit playing as much. As a thirteen- fifteen year old, I was afraid to admit I still played with dolls. But I never wanted to stop. I think that is part of the reason I looked into childhood development for my degree, so I could play with children and not get judged. (The other reason was I really enjoy young children.)
As a mother I made conscious decisions to allow my children to play. I would not put them in a room to play on their own, but I often joined in during their play time. I knew there were many things other people would deem more important, but I knew my children were learning. And I wanted to encourage their learning and development.
I was a big believer in not gender stereotyping which toys my children could play with. My son had a baby doll from 18 months to over 3 years of age. I feel this has helped him become the compassionate, caring man he is today. My girls were allowed to play with cars, blocks, tools, etc. Ronnie even helped her dad rebuild a transmission when she was 5 years old. (Pictured below.)
As my children grew older most of the children their ages were getting enrolled in sports, dance lessons, music lessons, etc. Their friends reached a point where they were unable to play, because they had so many lessons and other things going on. I had many parents judge me because I did not enroll my children in all these things. (They were in one thing at a time, but I was not going to have them be going non-stop.) I believed my children still had to learning to do through play.
I never told my children they were too old to play. I often find great joy in watching them still enjoy their toys. I have not even stopped playing yet. I have a drawer full of toys that I enjoy. I don’t get them out often, but when I feel like I need to they are there.
I am happy with the people my children have become. I am happy I let them have their childhood and let them play. I am happy I did not discourage or squelch their play. Please let your children play. Embrace this way of learning. Encourage it. Enjoy it. Before you know it they will be grown and you will wish you had played with them more.
Thanks Mom, for sharing your thoughts with us.
I’d like to take a minute now to say that I really love my mom. I think she is a wonderful person and she has done her job as a mother well. I’d also like to say that I believe in her message that play is important. My Mother’s influence when I was a child is something that has formed the person I am today.
I’d also like to wish a Merry Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. To the Married Mothers, To the Single Mothers, and to the Single Dad’s who sometimes have to play the role of Mother. Thank all of you for all of your hard work.