Don’t be a benchwarmer mom. What do I mean by that? You’re on the parenting team, but you never play… literally.
Most parents know it’s important for children to have play time. They need to get their energy out. They need to stay active in order to combat childhood obesity and compete with all these cool video games. A lot of parents allow their kids to run around the park or play indoors with their siblings and friends. These are both important aspects of child’s play, but there’s a key person that too many parents are leaving out: themselves.
What’s a Benchwarmer Mom
Have you taken your child to the park and sat on the bench with your face in a book or your phone only taking sporadic glances to check on their safety? That makes you a benchwarmer mom.
Have you taken your child to Chuck E. Cheese or some other arcade and sat at the table while your son or daughter ran off to stick 15 tokens into the skeeball machine? That makes you a benchwarmer mom.
Have you gone to an amusement park or water park and sent your child on the rides alone while you “hold their stuff”? That makes you a benchwarmer mom.
The list could go on and on, but I think you get the gist.
Don’t be a Benchwarmer Mom
If you send your little ones to preschool, you’d expect to see your child’s teacher down on the floor with them. Singing, dancing, reading books, engaging in pretend play, etc. As a preschool teacher, I did all of these things and more with my students.
But your children of all ages need to see you play. They need to play with you. They need to know that adults have fun too. They need to see that they matter enough to you that you take the time out of your day to play with them.
How to Get Off the Bench
Maybe you think you need to be fit to play with your children.
Spoiler alert… I’m not athletic. At all. Like so unathletic and so asthmatic that when I walk up the steps I lose my breath.
But I play with my kids…
In the house we play board games and video games together. We make slime. We play hide and seek. We do experiments and so much more.
Outside I teach them how to play Red Light, Green Light, 123 and Mother May I. I have even been known to play tag on occasion. It isn’t my favorite thing, but Sass and Laughs love it.
When we’re at an arcade I play racing games with them and challenge them to beat my score in basketball. At the water park I am on those slides with them. I crawl through tunnels with them at Billy Beez.
We have fun. Period.
Don’t wait until you’re in shape or healthy to play with your kids. That takes time and they need you now. Don’t wait until you have time in your schedule. Make time; they need you now. Don’t wait until you have more money. Imagination is free, they need you now. Don’t worry about being embarrassed. Your kids will remember that you had fun with them, not how funny you looked doing it.