The 30 metre marathon
Do you take the time to get down and see things through your toddler’s eyes?

Have you ever gone down on all fours and raced with your crawling child? When’s the last time you held your child‘s hand and danced around singing ‘Ring a Ring o' Roses’ and actually fell down at the end of the song? I enjoy doing a rendition of Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean character seeing children burst into laughter. 

Some parents are just too serious and I suspect that their children find them so boring. Too busy doing other things, these parents have no time to play with their kids and I wonder why they decided to have them in the first place.

I recently did a marathon with a 1-year-old boy who’s normally housebound. Our track field was less that than 30m long, an outside corridor. The poor child was so excited to be free to run and each time we ran I would follow behind him shouting ‘Go Jason. Go Jason.’  He always reached the finishing line first, and I second.  We’d celebrate his victory doing a dance routine.

Afterwards, we played soccer and I taught him a few dribbling skills.  One year olds do have lots of energy! I couldn’t believe it when the parents of the boy later asked me, ‘Why do children like you?’

I wanted to say, ‘Dah! What a stupid question to ask.’ But I said, ‘I always try to go down to their level.’

What I really wanted to say was this: ‘You guys are being unfair to young Jason. All day long, he’s cooped up in this block of flats with no playmates except the helper. He’s only a year old but he looks bored and I think his young spirit is slowly breaking. And you Mr Man, as the father of this wonderful boy I’ve never seen you play with him. Call me a busy body but you’re hardly at home. I bet you’ve never sung ‘Bah Bah black sheep’ to him. Do you even know the words of that song?   

‘Always up and down chasing after cash. You know what Mr Man, cash will always be around but one day you’ll wake up and find out that young Jason has turned into a grown man, a stranger, and you won’t feel good about missing his childhood...’

Be willing to do childish things that make their kids laugh. Why not come up with your own family comedy that you act out for the kids to watch? Instead of only buying toys that the child plays with alone, imaginative parents will also purchase games that the whole family can participate in. 

Scheduling time to play communal sports such as volleyball or cricket is a great way to interact with your kids. No matter how tight our work schedule is, we must make the time to play with our children to strengthen our bond with them. We owe it to them.

Do you make the time to get down to kid level? If not, why not?

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