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“Dad, let’s play!”

Our family of five does plenty of activities together, but, there are times, when my kids don’t want to play with their siblings, they want to spend time with just mom or just dad. Considering there are three kids in our family, when they each want to spend time with just me it’s a constant struggle to feel like I’m splitting my time equally among them.

When my five-year-old daughter asks me to play, it’s usually some type of “get on the floor and use your imagination” way of playing. I don’t mind it for a little while, but I’ve been playing princesses and dolls with both of my daughters for more than a decade in total. I’m a little bit “over it” to put it nicely. When she does convince me to play with her this way, I lose focus early and often, an experience she’s generally not too happy with. I can usually satisfy her anger by offering to read her a book instead.

My oldest daughter doesn’t ask much of me. She usually wants to show me the most recent videos she’s made with her friends, or spend 20 minutes explaining how her bake sale is going to take over the world. The most demanding she gets is wanting to go to Walgreen’s for journals, fancy pencils, and other school supplies (and, of course, while we’re there loading up on candy).

My son is the easy one. Playing baseball in the backyard, and shooting hoops in our driveway are two of his most popular requests and both things I enjoy doing. It’s easy to get me out the door to play catch (except for those days when it’s 20 degrees out, and my son insists the weather is fine).

The way things are going, it will become easier and easier for me to hang out with my son and harder to do activities with my girls.

This is what I want to change.

Recently, I’ve been trying to come up with things my girls want to do. With my youngest, I’ve now added “dance party” to the list of fun things we can do together. I scoop her up and we “wedding dance” as she likes to call it, or we put on fast music and “crazy dance”. She’s fine with either.

With my oldest I’m going to start spending time with her when she wants to do one of her favorite activities around the house, baking. (I’m hopeful if I put this in writing, I’ll actually do it, even though the last thing I want after I clean my kitchen is a tween trashing it making cookies.)

These are some new short-term goals I’m setting for myself with regards to playtime with my kids.

Talk to you all soon, I’ve got a dance party to attend.

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