Do I have to play with my kids?

play with my kids

Do you ever ask yourself, “Do I have to play with my kids?” The newest post in our Ask Away Thursday series begins with this mom-submitted question:
play with my kids


How much time should I spend playing with my kids? Sometimes it’s really hard for me to because I’m just not interested in playing.

I totally feel this momma! I have to admit, playing with my kids is not always my favorite thing to do. Chasing my kids around the house pretending to be a monster is only fun for about two minutes, if that. And I spend enough time kissing boo boos and breaking up fights- do I really have to sit on the floor and play with them, too?

At the same time, if you don’t bond with your kids now, when will you? When they’re teenagers?

Your babies will never love you this unabashedly again. If they’re still young, you’re still perfect in their eyes.

As much as I don’t want to take the time out of my day sometimes, playing with my kids is an important thing to do, to nurture our relationship.

But how much playtime is enough?

I try to do at least one play session a day. 

That doesn’t count:

when I am helping them with their play-dough,

when I am oohing and ahhing over their latest painting masterpieces,

helping them remove the sandbox lid,

helping them get out their bubbles and sitting outside to supervise,

taking walks with the stroller,

pushing them on their trike…

Don’t feel guilty if you hate doing puzzles and playing “HiHo! Cherry-O”! I do try to play with my kids at least once a day, maybe helping with an activity they can’t do on their own. But with little ones, you already spend so much of your day at their disposal! It is ok if you can’t find the time or sacrifice the small amount of sanity you have left!

There are more ways to interact with your child than just playing Barbies for hours on end!

I like to involve my older daughter in the kitchen. She is 4 now, but even when she was 1 or 2, I would give her a plastic bowl and whisk to let her pretend cook at the counter beside me. She stood on her ‘Learning Tower‘, an amazing yard sale find! It allowed her to safely stand at counter height, with no fear of falling- like with a kitchen chair. It has been invaluable and indispensable!

play with my kids
I may or may not have been having a little too much fun with this photo shoot here…


Now she is old enough to actually help me do some measuring and stirring! We can bond and she can learn while we work together! Plus, I get stuff done, so it is a total win all around!

Some other ideas to play/work with your kids:

  • If you have yard work to do, have your kids help you pick up sticks. See who can find the longest stick and Voila!, its a game! Playtime!
  • Clean up toys together- you know kids can’t resist playing with toys anyway while they pick up, so I’m pretty sure this counts!
  • Give your kid a rag to wash down the cabinets or clean the table. My kids, at least, think this is fun, and you can bond and chat while they clean!

And isn’t that what playtime is all about? Bonding and connecting? Teaching your child?

See what these other mamas had to say in response to our question-

Crystal at Love More Live Blessed

Monica at A Mother Loving Mess 

Marisa at Called to Mothering

If you have a momming question you’d like answered, or maybe need a second (as well as third or fourth!) opinion on something, send us an email here:

Your question will be answered with careful consideration and will be kept anonymous. We LOVE to dish out advice, so thanks in advance for floating our boat. 🙂


don't call me supermom


  1. Little E helps me cook or clean all the time! It’s really great for bonding and teaching life skills. Sometimes it’s really it hard trying to actually play with him, but like you said if we don’t now, when will we? Thanks for this great post and linking up for some #mommatime!
    Kristen recently posted…Momma Time – Week 3My Profile

  2. I have been thinking about this for quite some time. Right now I am my kids world and they think I am the greatest thing ever and vy for my attention. Even though my kids drive me nuts a lot of the time, I know that someday, they aren’t going to think I’m cool and they aren’t going to want to hang out with me. I am going to try to be intentional about spending time with them this summer and doing at least on “fun day” a week. Going to a museum, going to a park or the aquarium. They love hanging out with me now and I’ll TRY to enjoy it while I can.

    1. This made me laugh…you will TRY to enjoy it! Haha! I understand what you mean…it’s not that you don’t love your kids and love being with them…it is that their behaviour can make it challenging to enjoy yourself (the fighting gets old!!). And it can be exhausting when you don’t have the energy and stamina of a child! Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  3. More great advice! I love your ideas on playing/working together. I also find it so much easier to “work” together when you’re there helping and guiding them.

  4. With 4 kids, the last 2 at least being 4 years younger than the first 2, its hard to play with all of them. In between everything else, its hard. So when setting up activities to do for the kids, I try to choose activities that is good for all ages..going to the park, sliding down the hills, library, going to the mall are just a few things all my kids enjoy doing. That way mom and dad are not stretched to the point of insanity lol.

  5. I love that you show ways to bond with your kids that aren’t usually considered playing. I’m looking forward to summer so that I can spend more time playing with my school aged son.

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