January 3, 2013 1:56 am When Things Are Going Well
Sustaining happiness is something we all wish we knew how to do. Is there some little way that we can try to do this with and for our children?
Sometimes children find their way into complete and imaginative play. Rubber people and stuffed toys suddenly are equipped with a variety of voices. The play feels completely real to the children. Parents are delighted to witness such a peaceful and productive time. It is second nature for us to slink away, hoping to gain a few moments for our own pursuits. As we go to our computers, look at our phones, put away groceries, or even try to read a few pages of a book, cute laughter and realistic sound effects filter in from the playroom.
The children’s happiness buys us a few more minutes of deserved peace. We start a shopping list or open the mail. The last thing we want is to break the spell the children have created. We know how short-lived these happy times can be. All it takes is a little argument over a toy, or for one child to become a boss, or for the children to run out of ideas, and the happy time will be over.
Then a voice from the playroom says, “Mommy? Come see the house we set up. Isn’t it cool?” The mother, with a bit of hesitation, joins the children. She takes in the scene, picks up a toy cat and meows. “Meow, I’m hungry. Can someone feed me and take me for a walk?” The children respond eagerly, finding a tiny plate, and filling it with “food.” Other toy animals start oinking and neighing, and baby dolls are suddenly crying to be fed too.
With their mother’s help, the spell has been recast and strengthened. Given the choice of staying in her own time, or joining them, she has chosen to be part of the dearest time and has helped the children sustain and deepen their happy play. Later, she will thank the children for playing so adorably and for including her. She vows to remember that sometimes, this is just where she wants to be, and her other things can wait.
Written by: Anne Martine Cook, Managing Partner & Mom, with 35+ years experience teaching preschool children.
We welcome your comments and questions.