As a mom of two girls, I’ve always been a firm believer of maintaining an active connection with your children. Most importantly I needed to be just as involved with their teenage activities, as I was when they were toddlers. The Active Family Project takes this same perspective and helps to directly connect families to different activities. As my girls grew and their interests changed, it sometimes became more challenging to engage (and have THEM want ME to be engaged) in their activities. Now being a mom and a grandma, I am able to not only share my experiences, but also pick up ideas from others on activities to do with my grandson.
The Active Family Project Roundtable really focused on the important role of engaging in active family play. Guest speaker Fred Engh really brought a different perspective as to why moms aren’t typically coaches in their children’s sports. I would have LOVED to coach my girls when they were younger. Although I was never told I could not coach, this was something my husband did, because well that’s what the dads do. Luckily, I did have girls that danced competitively and I played an extremely active role in their competitions. I was among of group of “dance moms” (not like the show) that diligently did hair and makeup, checked costumes, pinned, repined, and bobby pinned more kids than an NFL coach could handle. I would hustle between the dressing room and the auditorium to watch the numbers and then sprint back to the dressing room to redo hair, makeup, and costumes for the next number (in 3 minutes).
Erin Gifford spoke about fun activities to do when you travel such as visiting National Parks. While we didn’t do much camping when my girls were younger, their vigorous dance schedule enabled us to travel to different places. We always made a “vacation” out of their competition location by staying an extra few days after the competition was concluded. When we traveled to Boston, Mass. We were really able to show the girls the city as a FAMILY. We went to Quincy Market, watched show performers, and went shopping. To this day my girls will always talk about watching the 4th of July fireworks from the Westin Hotel in Boston.
Amy McCready, having teens of her own, agreed with the importance of connecting with your teenagers. While “screens” (ipods, laptops, texting, cell phones, etc) weren’t much of a distraction when my girls were growing up, they still wanted their “friend time”. I used things they were interested in, such as dancing, to maintain my connections. They would teach me the latest dance moves, and even if I looked or felt ridiculous doing them, it was something my girls and I ALWAYS did together. Putting on the music and dancing around the house was fun for all of us, and believe it or not, my husband would join us too!
The celebrity guest speaker, Elisabeth Hassleback seemed as proud as I am to be involved with the Active Family Project. So many parents are quick to plop their kids in front of the TV or computer because its “easy” and they have to make dinner or clean. Reality is .. we have to eat dinner every night and laundry needs to get done. While I didn’t cut my kids off from all TV and electronics, I included them in the household chores. When they were toddlers and I was folding clothes, they helped me by
folding trying to fold hand towels and wash clothes. While I was making dinner, they were able to set the table any way they wanted (that could mean fork in the cup and napkin in the center of the dish). Similar to Elizabeth’s family, we did baseball in the backyard (and still do it now with my grandson) and played games outside like hopscotch.
Now that my girls are adults, we still do things together and having a toddler grandson enables me to do it all over again. The new game my grandson and I play is Batman and Robin (I, of course, am Robin). We run through the yard singing the batman song and of course dance!
What is your favorite Family Play?
“I received product samples from Merck Consumer Care, and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience. This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Merck Consumer Care.”