My childcare centre shared this little video this week. Ordinarily I skim the weekly newsletter, take a quick gander at what they are serving in the kitchen, and maybe see if any themed days are coming up so my daughter doesn’t suffer the humiliation she did during Halloween of 2015. I don’t know why, but this time I stopped scrolling.

I stopped and I watched this sometimes cheesy feeling video that was in a nutshell telling me to turn off the TV, the music, my phone. Ignore the clothes hanging on the clothes rack and the washing that hasn’t been hung out. Take five minutes. That’s it. Five minutes, and play with your child. And give them the control. Let them choose what to do, let them instruct, follow their lead, mimic them.

I’ll admit, I only half watched the video. I was distracted by my phone and the clothes. But when missy came home and we had five minutes to kill before dinner I thought I’d give it a try.

It. Was. Amazing.

I play with my daughter a lot. Much more than five minutes a day. But usually I’ll stop to do something. Or I might make a suggestion to her. Or direct. Or suggest we do something else. We all do it. Instead I found myself going to play trains, and suddenly slithering on my belly like a snake with her (not easy, I was a very slow snake) before donning crowns and casting spells. This was five minutes of uninterrupted play for her. Her eyes shone, my eyes shone. I broke the spell to make dinner and it was over.

What remained was a feeling of closeness, a lovely mood, and a feel of conspiratorial joy when daddy came home in a very “meh” mood.

I wanted to share this with my fellow parents. Apparently five minutes a day of this helps our beautiful human beings become even more wonderful. But putting that inside, I’ve got to say it’s a pretty amazing thing for a parent too.

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