I wanted to write this blog post because I’ve said it before on my social media pages but I can’t quite always convey what I mean within those limited characters so here’s the truth…it doesn’t always work.
Yes I post these lovely photos and videos of the games I play with my children, and they are 100% true and accurate. For that moment, on that day, at that particular time, with that specific game.
BUT I sometimes set up games that DON’T work too. Why am I telling you this? Because I get messages every day. Lots of those messages are beautiful, kind, heartfelt words of thanks which I treasure. However a few are desperate calls for help, “Why won’t my kid play this?” … “she only did it for 3 seconds then lobbed the lot?”…”I tried to set this up but he didn’t even notice it” and these are the messages that I think deserve a blog post. Because we have ALL had days like that with a small person. Yes, even me. Don’t believe the hype!
So sometimes I think up a marvellous game, “wonderful” goes my little brain, “this’ll keep us occupied this afternoon. They’ll LOVE this” and so I get out the bits and bobs and set it up, then I wait (golden rule). And the kids either ignore it, or they ask what it is and I explain and they say “I don’t want to play that Mummy” or worst of all, we do play but I realise halfway through that this was a TERRIBLE idea and I shout ABORT ABORT at the top of my lungs while they lob things at my head. It doesn’t always work.
But I don’t share those games, and it isn’t because I’m being dishonest but because I’m sparing you my mistakes! I’ve gotten better at it over the years. I’m able to better predict a hit. But my children are very different. Ewan is a player. He’s calm, measured, scientifically minded. Florence is a whirlwind. She wants stimulation and conversation and something new every 30 seconds. The chances are your children are different to each other or to mine or to your friends’.
So if your kid doesn’t enjoy one of the games or it bombs please don’t think it’s your fault, or your kids’ fault, or “that Five Minute Mum always gets her kids to play it, why can’t I?” – it’s just the way it goes sometimes. Try again another day, or another game.
I make up these games for kids yes, but the people I am REALLY doing it for is YOU. The parents, the grandparents, the weary looker-afterers of small people. The messages that I cherish the most are those from parents who say “I’ve grown in confidence as a Mum today” or “my kid said they had fun and I felt awesome”… “I can’t believe it really only took five minutes.”
And here’s my crucial point. PLAYING the game doesn’t make you #supermum or #superdad
but TRYING to play it? THAT does. You tried? You put actual effort into searching this blog for ideas, setting something up, attempting to play, teach, bond with that little person in your care? Then you’re bloody wonderful. YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON. We can ONLY ever try our best.
So no, it doesn’t always work, and yes sometimes our kids are massive shit-heads and don’t get on board with the lovely things we have planned (Ewan once cried for an entire day around a theme park FFS!) but if you’re a parent who’s come to this blog looking for ideas on ways to entertain your child, then you’re a bloody good one in my book and you deserve to know that it doesn’t always work, and that’s OK.