Thursday, January 3, 2008

Play By The Rules

I added two fun widgets to my site last night---BlogRush and Library Thing. The five blogs in the BlogRush box will change everyday. They should be related to parenting issues. I chose this category because they didn't have a grandparenting one listed.

Some of the issues of grandparenting are similar to parenting, especially if you spent lots of time with your grandchildren. It's interesting to me to read how parents and families are coping these days. I've visited a few of these blogs and have already been so encouraged with the way some young people are making their children the priority in their very busy, very stressful lives.

This is where grandparents can be of help, that is, in helping to relieve stress. Some of us have the tendency to want to over help and make our children's lives easier, but it we guard against this and remember to do our part as a helper and not a doer and an enabler, everyone benefits.

One of the posts I read was a list of resolutions of a young mother. Her goals are to read her Bible more, exercise, eat right and a few others. The one that caught my attention was the last on her list. She said she wants to be more self-sufficient and not depend on her parents for things she can do for herself and for her children. If she can take her children with her places, she wants to do that, instead of dropping them off at the grandparents house.
To me, this goal shows the love and respect she has, not only for her parents, but for her children and herself. Children love to be loved by their parents. They thrive when they know they are, above all, the most important thing in the parent's life. Parents bloom when they problem solve and involve their children into the fabric of their lives.

Grandparents are great fillers that can fill in some of the cracks, and there will always be cracks (and craters), busy work schedules, appointments, sickness, dates, and occasional weekend getaways, but parents are the ones who fill the vast and needy tanks of the children's hearts.

This brings me to the subject of play. Grandparents can be some of the best playmates. On my web travels yesterday, I also came across an expert in the play arena. Her name is Rae Pica. In the next few days I'll be spending some of my time reading her articles and listening to her podcasts. She is a firm believer in playing, but she also emphasizes that a child should learn to play alone. This was a good reminder for me. Even when Kenz and I are playing together, she often drifts into her own realm of imagination where I cannot go. I've blogged on this many times in the past.

Play by definition is child-directed. I've known this and any grandparent who engages in being a play pal quickly learns this. The child gives you directions on who you are, what you say, where we are going, etc. In other words in play, it's the child who is making the rules. The grown-up is often along for the ride, one that sometimes borders on the insane. I have already decided I didn't like that word though and I call these play departures--- wanderings.

Rae Pica

1 comment:

Rae Pica said...

Thank you, Connie! I appreciate the "plug," as well as your definition of authentic play as child-directed! If we want our children (and grandchildren) to grow up to be self-directed individuals, they need to start learning the skills now.

I hope your readers will listen to some of my interviews with other play leaders at Among the experts I've interviewed are David Elkind, author of The Power of Play, and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, co-author of Einstein Never Used Flash Cards! The podcasts are only 10 to 12 minutes long, so there's no great investment of time needed! : )

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