Fatherhood Series: Dad’s and Barbies.

I wonder what it is that keeps children playing for hours on a good day. Granted, there are also those other days where nothing seems to amuse them long enough. Yet Barbies are an enigma I have yet to wrap my dad’s brain around. Maybe it’s the adult in me that doesn’t allow me to tap into that aspect of my imagination anymore. It’s been quite some time since I’ve held G.I. Joe or TMNT action figures… those were the days 🙂

For me mostly it’s the joy I get of interacting with my children and being allowed in their imaginative and creative world. Where anything is possible, almost everyone has superpowers and the good guys always win. It’s a very important world for a child as well and parents should make it a priority to pay it a visit as often as they can.

Here are a few must-haves to bring with you.

1. Dust off Your Imagination. It’s your passport, into your child’s imaginary world. So be sure to have it on you like you would any identification in a foreign country or risk being deported. In my experience, it’s simply not enough to just bounce the doll around and speak in a high pitched voice. Be willing to imagine scenarios with your child, and in case you weren’t aware; boys play with dolls too. We just call them action figures.

2. Invest in diversity. In our family, we fully believe in diversity, and in a world that struggles with the concept it’s important that children learn the importance of embracing the world’s diversity, it’s many colors, cultures, and the myriad of flavors that each brings to the palette. So my wife and I invest in showing our children the beauty of this diversity in the toys we buy for them and in the gifts family and friends also buy. The reason being is that play is a form of learning about the world around them and engaging with your children in that helps them better grasp how to deal with people different from themselves as well as those that look like them.

 

3. These are the moments that matter

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I can admit that there have been times my children have sought barbie playtime at the ( for me ) times that were inconvenient. It’s easy for parents to forget our children aren’t always on the same schedule as us. Dad’s have to take advantage of these moments even when they spring up unexpectedly. For some reason, we tend to be the preferred choice for most playtime  One useful thing I’ve put into practice since I work from home is to construct my work tasks into blocks of time, rather than scheduling in a strict 9-5 workday. That way I’m more flexible with my time when playtime comes calling. Granted everyone will be able to apply it to their workday, however, time blocking is a useful strategy to use for various areas where you may need to have a flexible but consistent system of getting things done, especially playtime!

 

As COVID-19 continues to be a daily reality for us and our families, we must remember that both young and older children need regular physical activity. While we can’t always get out in the immediate public we can get outside and active. So stay safe, be active, and “Don’t worry, be happy!”