"What Would You Like to Do?"

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My 8-year old son, Jamie, loves to spend time with me. Even today, one of his friends called to see if he could come to his birthday party after school. Jamie had to think about it because he had planned to play a card game with his mom after school. "Mom, can we play on Friday," he asked. "Sure," I said "I can make that work!" His eyes lit up as he realized he would get the best of both worlds (party time with friends and alone time with mom).

I'll admit that I have to overcome the thought I have each time he asks me to play with him. What's the thought? "I'm wasting time when I play a game. I should be doing laundry, doing the dishes, or cleaning the bathroom. " I'm sure no one else ever has these thoughts . . .

But I know it's very important to him. The more I do it, the more I like it and the more I realize it's worth the investment in my son and it's so healthy for all of us!

Jamie loves to play chess or Phase 10 (a card game), he loves putting together a puzzle, baking anything and everything (especially macaroni & cheese or brownies), and helping me with just about any special project. Now, the special project part turns my crank, so I have to be careful that it's not the only thing I do to spend time together with my kids. Doing a project to a child can often be interpreted as "hard work." And what energizes me doesn't necessarily energize the children. My husband and I are both task oriented, and we've had to learn to be less so in order to love our children the way they need to be loved. We adore our children and take so much delight in them. It's just that we tend to be task oriented, which can be devastating to children, especially children who are very relational.

Have you found out what it is your child really loves to do? Is it sitting on your lap? Is it playing a game? Is it reading a book? Is it working together on something? Is it "talk" time? Maybe he/she has expressed what it is, but you haven't really made time. They grow up so fast and before long, they'll be raising their own children. Take the time now, today, to invest in that special way. You'll be so glad you did!

Andrea Simanson is a wife and mother of three children, and the website and ezine editor of Successful Family Chores – Putting FUN and ENERGY into everyday tasks.
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Copyright © 2003 Andrea Simanson All Rights Reserved.

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