I often hear parents complaining about having to play with their kids and I just don't understand. I love playing games with my kids. They just have to be the right games. Sure, I want to poke my eyes out if I have to sit through multiple games of Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land. I would much rather sit in the shade and catch up on the latest news on my phone than try to play tag at the park. Running in sand while wearing flip flops is not my idea of a good time. But I have learned through many years of experience that there are some tried and true games that I will always willingly play.
What? You've never played Massage Parlor? You are missing out. This game is the best. The main rule of this game is pretty simple: don't hurt Mommy.
I announce “Hello! I'm here for my massage!” Then I fall face down on the floor or the couch. After three hours of listening to my kids fight over whose Minecraft world is the best, this is a pretty natural position to assume. My kids massage my back and my feet and it is glorious. If they start getting a little wild with the shiatsu, I make it into a contest about who can give the best massage and then their best work comes out. It's easy to declare a winner: Me!
Back Scratch Contest
Keeping on the contest theme is another of my favorite games: Backscratch Contest. This game is awesome! I close my eyes and each of my three kids take turns scratching my back and I judge if a, b, or c did the best. Strangely, I can't usually tell the first time around, so they may have to try a few times before I can declare a winner.
All kids like to play house, right? In my version I am the kid and they are the mom and/ or dad. I lounge around on the couch watching tv and demanding snacks. “Mom” and “Dad” are in charge of completing a few chores while I whine and complain about being bored. It's a game! It's fun!
Hide and Seek
Another classic. In my version I insist on being “It”. I start to count as my children run and hide. Then I have some peace to finally fold laundry or do dishes, or, if I'm really lucky, sit down and read a book.
When my kids get bored of hiding and come to find me I say “oh my gosh! There you are! I looked everywhere for you! You are such a good hider!”
They beam and ask to hide again. “Okay, but not so hard this time! One….. Two…… Three…….” and they scamper off leaving me to enjoy five more minutes of blissful silence.
My 12 year old is slightly obsessed with anything on the Food Network channel and he and his 9 year old sister enjoy playing “Iron Chef”. They each make a dish and The 5 year old and I are the judges. We have to judge each dish on “creativity”, “appearance”, “taste”, and, in an added twist, the “cleanest work station”, thereby ensuring that the kitchen gets cleaned up by someone other than myself. The true winner in this game is me because, coincidentally, the dishes end up being our lunch. Any meal that I don't have to make is an automatic winner in my book.
So, to all the parents out there who complain about playing games with their kids, I urge you to try one of the above. Your kids will love spending time with you and you will be a better person, a better parent, and, with enough practice, you may even get a kick-ass massage out of the deal.