Whoever came up with the phrase ‘It’s child’s play’ clearly didn’t have two demanding toddlers to entertain over half-term.
It’s probably safe to say that the Toy Box Tots team won’t be alone in admitting that the usual trials of juggling the work-life balance were severely tested last week while we had our toddler twins to entertain during a break from preschool. We have plenty of parenting pals who are going through a similar struggle; they have busy careers as well as a hectic schedule at home. So many of us are worrying about the same thing: We want to give our all to our children when we leave the office but where do we find the energy to do this? Everyone has been there, you get home after a busy day at work – or it’s the start of the weekend and it’s been nonstop deadlines all week –and we have the best of intentions to transform from Mr/Mrs Professional to Super Fun Parent. But it’s just not that easy.
After a stressful but successful meeting in Birmingham a few months ago, one of our customers couldn’t wait to get home and see their little ones. Having heard the kids had been on best behaviour all day, the mother arrived back with great plans for imagination play and den building. However, the moment she put her foot in the door all hell broke loose and her tots had a major meltdown once they saw mummy was home. Ambitious plans were shelved for another day and instead they all sat down for a quiet few minutes to have a cuddle and read a book. It just goes to show that sometimes kids don’t need all the bells and whistles of expensive toys or exciting days out, maybe what they really need is your undivided attention and a hug.
Parents often put a lot of pressure on themselves to be entertaining and imaginative. We all know a mother who is able to whip up a bespoke fairy princess outfit from a pillowcase without breaking a sweat or a father who conjures up a game in the garden to keep his restless children interested for hours. But in reality, life often gets in the way and we end up too tired or overwhelmed to come up with fresh ideas to challenge demanding pre-schoolers. After a busy day at work (or a busy day at home) it can be easier to put the TV on or give the kids a tablet to keep them quiet for a few minutes so frazzled parents can have some much needed quiet time.
Or when adults do make an effort to engage with children it often seems to take longer to set up the activity than it does for the kids to enjoy playing with it before they get bored. It’s natural to feel frustrated, lacking in ideas and just simply too exhausted to play with our little ones.
However, it’s amazing how powerful play can be, for both children and parents. There’s nothing more rewarding than watching a tot use their imagination and lose themselves in play. Finding that favourite toy, listening to a beloved book, dressing up as a much loved character, all those things are actually helping a child to develop crucial skills for later in life. By investing in playtime now, a parent is giving their little one the opportunity to grow and learn. While doing some research for an article on the importance of children’s playtime this week, we came across a quote from author Bidemi Mark-Mordi that really captured our imagination. “The human spirit is like an elastic band. The more you stretch, the greater your capacity.” Children really do seem like rubber bands at time, they are so eager to stretch and try new things – we just need to find out how to help them do this. Who knows where it could take them?
We understand parents want the best for their kids, but sometimes can't muster up the energy and enthusiasm to be inventive and get involved in playtime. That’s why we include activity sheets brimming with ideas with each box of toys. It’s also why we decided to build each box of toys around our favourite books, as a good story never fails to spark mini imaginations.
Why not give us a go and order a box for your next break to make playtime that bit easier!