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Liburd-Play for Parents-Large

The Importance of Play for Parents

Charlotte Mason was a 20th century educator who understood the importance of the age-old phrase, “If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.” In her book “School of Education,” she notes: “If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children ... we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play!” There is so much wisdom in this idea of mothers setting aside time for play in their own lives as they orchestrate the lives of their families.

Play is something that can be spontaneous or planned, but it must always bring delight. Self-care is often confused for play. It spurs us on to consider things like getting quality sleep, a warm bath, or a massage. While all these things are lovely, and of course sleep is necessary, taking care of the body is foundational to well-being. In addition, we can dig a litter deeper. We recognize that our children need quality sleep and nutrition to function well, but we also pour into areas of their lives that bring joy and nurture their gifts. We can and should make space for this practice in our own lives as mothers and fathers.

Over the past year or so, I began my own self-care journey where I was challenged by author Leah Bolden to expand what wellness looks like and to include play. She notes that play should bring delight and should not only be pursued when we reach the end of our rope. Play is holistic and includes the mind, body, and spirit of a person. For me, this includes engaging in a book club, spending time alone in nature, going to an art gallery, and getting outside my comfort zone by taking an adult ballet class. These activities leave an imprint of delight and gratitude that deepens my connection with myself and those I hold dear.

In the month that celebrates mothers, I encourage all of us to pursue awesome adulting. Seek out and schedule opportunities that bring you delight. These activities do not have to be extravagant or costly; the only requirement is that they bring joy. What does that look like for you?

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About Jeane N. Liburd, MA, CCLS

About Jeane N. Liburd, MA, CCLS Jeané Liburd has worked in the field of child Iife since 2005. She earned a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and is trained in play therapy. She currently serves as an adjunct instructor for Liberty University. Throughout her career, she has provided services for children and families in various settings including hospitals, pediatric hospice, and community programs. The focus of her work is supporting children and families who have experienced illness, grief, and loss.