[September 8, 2023] Here’s a newsflash from the New York Times! You should not play with your kids. In an article* by Edan Lepucki, a mother of three children under ten, she suggests that children don’t need parents for play because it stifles their playtime. This paper was once deservedly called The Old Gray Lady, meaning it had a long, continuous, impeccable reputation for accurate reporting.
Today, we can argue the New York Times is willing to publish trash or, to use a social media metaphor, “clickbait” its shrinking audience. This recent article says we are not supposed to play with our kids. Presumably, we should not play with them so we can do more things we want to do as adults.
But, those small moments we spend playing with our kids, mundane games, reading, playing dress up, etc., are because they teach your kids that they are worth your time. When you take the time to put on lipstick for your daughter or help your son build a snow fort in the backyard, the message is you want to spend time with them, and that you are willing to stop what you’re doing and show them they are a priority in your life.
Ms. Lepucki initially did play in her children’s lives but discovered that she was a “terrible playmate, a tired mother who did little beyond obstructing.” Her motto, now this is her words, “Moms don’t play.” She does admit that her approach is not suitable for everyone. Thank goodness there is some realization that maybe her way of not playing with her kids might not be beneficial. She concludes:
“When my kids and I stop doing our own things and come together, it’s because we want to. The activities we do together offer all of us pleasure; we opt in and because of this, we actually have fun. I may not play, but I’m goofy and affectionate, and I love to talk about feelings. I love to teach too: how to count, how to read, how to make guacamole. It feels good to be with my kids in these specific ways, and to let myself be there. It took some time, but I’ve realized I can’t be every kind of mother. I can only be one. I can only be theirs.” – Edan Lepucki
My best advice is don’t read this article and go play with your kids.
- https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/15/magazine/kids-play.html (hint: access the article from Google so their paywall will not popup)
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