We all have favourite ways to play with our kids and in our busy lives, actively or intentionally playing with them, can sometimes take second fiddle. We do know through research, that it can be super simple, and it can help us unwind, connect and tap into creative sides, we often forget we have. We also often underestimate how important simple playing can be and it’s beneficial impact on the whole family.
So we understand that adults and kids alike benefit from playing but how do we fit it all in? How do others do it? Especially those with seemingly little time, who are juggling big careers and businesses with growing families. We’re going to find out. We’re excited to introduce you to a first of it’s kind, in an interview series with busy, influential parents, all about how they play & find time to spend quality time with their kids. We hope you find the series motivating & thought provoking for your own family playtimes and we hope it will inspire parents to value the quantity and quality of time, they spend with their kids.
Our first interview is with the amazing, inspirational mum and entrepreneur Emma Isaacs. Emma is the founder & Global CEO of Business Chicks and the marvellous mum to 5 little people!!
Business Chicks is Australia’s largest and most influential community for women. Business Chicks is about helping all women to play a bigger game. Whether they’re running their own business, surrounded by others in an office, or just missing a sense of connection and support, Business Chicks is all about giving women the tools they need to propel yourself and their businesses forward.
Emma herself is a true inspiration and contagiously positive human being. I’ve often sat back, wondering how she does it all. As a mum she is seen hanging out with her kids, spending weekends on a bike ride and celebrating life’s small joys. As a business woman, she calls Richard Branson & Arianna Huffington friends, yet her humility and authenticity is one of her greatest assets. I was excited to find out what makes her family tick and how she fits play into their lives, as she lives out her dream, now in Los Angeles.
Name: Emma Isaacs
Kids: Milla – 8, Honey – 6, Indie – 4, Ryder – 2, Piper – 11 weeks
1. What do you do to ensure you make time to play with your kids in your busy schedule?
With five kids and a growing global business, I don’t really plan much, particularly when it comes to the childrens’ activities, preferring to steal the opportunities as they arise. While our kids are in a routine (you have to in such a busy household!) it’s not as if we say ‘so between 4pm and 5pm we have structured play time’. I’m much more fluid than that, but prepared for when the time allows it. I live in Los Angeles and love that I can have things delivered really quickly and this helps with the kids play too – if I see we’re out of art supplies, I’ll jump online and voila (thanks to Amazon Prime!) it can be on our doorstep by 8pm that night. I have a ton of craft activities and activity books always at the ready (that I hide from the kids) that we can pull out when we need to, and we always have sketch pads and crayons/pencils in a few different places around our home that the kids are forever accessing. We have a huge basement that we’ve converted into a play area with fake grass and fairy lights and fancy dress costumes and a TV and every conceivable game, book and toy you could imagine, but at the end of the day, they hardly use it preferring to be up in the action of the house where the rest of the family is! Who knows why? … I try and let my kids be kids. I suppose you could say I’m the opposite of a helicopter parent – a lot of my happiest parenting moments are when I leave them alone and find them half an hour later playing teachers and students, or on the trampoline together, or playing hide and seek. I’m no parenting expert but love that my kids don’t always need me to be creative and dream up new ways to have fun, but I do try and create the spaces and opportunities for them to do this.
2. When you do have down time with your kids, how do you like to spend it?
Living in California means there are so many opportunities to get outside and we try make the most of the climate and all the different activities on offer. We’ll often go to one of the beaches and hire bikes and go for a ride, stopping for lunch along the way. We also take them hiking and generally just exploring the city of LA, so going to parks, and yep, doing the touristy things of visiting museums and landmarks are fun too. I’m also really big on one-on-one time with my kids so I’ll often grab one of them, sneak out, and take them for an ice cream or just a walk around the block even – it fills up their emotional cup (and mine too frankly!) We also run a divide and conquer strategy too where my hubby will take three of them somewhere and I’ll take two – just minimises the stress and gives them more quality time with us.
3. Do you have a favourite activity or place to go?
I can tell you that I hate the playground! There’s nothing more tedious for me than standing behind a swing and pushing for ten minutes – drives me crazy. As with business and life really, I say you’ve got to play to your strengths so our nanny is the one to take them to the park, rather than me. She is younger and has more energy to run around with them. There’s a great app here that we use called Winnie – it tells you what activities are happening in your area and also tells you useful stuff like where kids can eat free. We’ve discovered some amazing adventures for kids from massive rock-climbing gyms through to trampolining places and amusement parks (endless in California!) but at the end of the day, the kids can have as much fun with the empty boxes from my Amazon deliveries as they can out at an activity that will cost $150. I’ve learned they just want to be with us and together as a family. What we’re doing is mostly secondary to that.
4. What’s your favourite thing to do at home with your kids?
We’re huge readers, so I’m happiest curled up in some nook with a kid in my lap, reading them a book and cuddling away the time. I also love showing my two big girls (who are eight and six) TED talks and we have big discussions afterwards. A lot of these people and speakers they’ve met through Business Chicks, so it’s cool to watch them on the big screen in our bedroom or on one of the computers, and for the girls to get an understanding of some issues that are important in the world. We also have a great pool with a waterslide (that my hubby drove for three hours to go collect from out past Palm Springs) and we have some pretty epic family sessions with music playing and lots of games in the pool.
5. What does your day look like on a non-work day?
We generally try bundle everyone up in the van and go somewhere as a family but we can also have lazy days at home too. I’m super strict on no screen time during the week so by the time the weekends roll around I’m totally happy for them to zone out in front of the TV for short periods of time – I feel like kids need down time and the space to relax as much as we do.
6. Clean or Messy?
7. Playdough or Paint?
8. Glitter. Yeah or No way!
Thank you so much Emma for taking part in our first Kids Play interview series. You can find out more about Business Chicks and Emma’s team here and we’d love to hear what you think – so please leave us a comment below!
Interested in learning more about us? You can read all about Habitots and Suzanne & her journey here.
Interested to learn more about how play can benefit your family and how research believes that it can improve your everday life at home? Read more here.