Enjoying Your Kids at Home
We all love our kids, but there’s no denying that when faced with entertaining them in the house all day, many of us get more than a little anxious. I’m definitely one of these parents, and have no shame in saying so. It can be hard to devote our whole attention to their play when we’re so used to being pulled between work agendas, screens and social life. It can be hard to really stop and enjoy them and really be with them. Below are three of my top survival tips for being stuck at home with the kids. Hope they’re helpful!
1. Firstly, just let it happen. Accept it. Give in. Move on. Move forward. You’re at home with your kids. They want your attention. That’s that. By this I mean, try and change your mindset from one of annoyance or anxiety to one of acceptance. Easier said than done I know. But once you’ve accepted it, it’s much easier to enjoy yourself. Put away your phone, and get ready to follow your child where they will lead.
Early childhood educators and and policy makers often talk about child led educational experiences. It’s a big buzz word. So give it a try. Let your child dictate what imaginary world you’re visiting or what game you’re playing. Let them become immersed in their play and allow yourself to jump in with them. You’ll probably find that you really enjoy seeing where their imagination takes them. And often they’ll get so immersed that they won’t even notice if you need to nip out to use the toilet (and quietly eat a chocolate chip cookie and sit down by yourself for ten minutes...).
2. Next up, start suggesting. If your kid is in that boredom funk where nothing but the TV will make them happy and they won’t stop whining and whining and whining...then maybe the child led thing won’t work. In this case, a few parent led activities may help pass the time and find you enjoying yourself after all. Here are a few:
-Make play dough. I won’t bother mentioning a recipe because google will show you a dozen, most as good as each other. Making play dough is easy, quick, and cheap. And playing with play dough is both fun, and therapeutic, easily distracting and delighting children from ages two to ten and beyond.
-Play a board game . Simple as that. Children as young as three can get involved in board games, and most families have a few. Our family favourites include Alpha Animals and Mucky Pups for the very young, as well as Dobble, About Time, 221b Baker Street, Takenoko, and Bananagrams for the older kids.
-Build a fort/den. Get the blankets and pillows out and throw them across chairs and sofas. Make a cozy space for reading, a hideout for the gang, or a fun space to practice crawling in and out of.
-Story time. Get cuddly with a picture book, or sit next to your older kids while they dive into their own books. Pick up a book you’ve been meaning to read and settle in.
-Walk the dog. Or if you don’t have one, take out your bikes, your scooters, your wheely bugs or your skates. Get some fresh air and some exercise.
3. Lastly, and if all else fails, put the TV on. I add this here because it’s important to be honest with ourselves about what we can and can’t do. Sometimes we just need 20 minutes alone. Sometimes we just need to start tea, check emails, have a cup of coffee. Sometimes it’s ok to put the TV on and take a break. There is a lot of valid talk about screen time, and the negative impacts of it. But sometimes Paw Patrol REALLY saves the day. And that’s ok. A couple of shows can go a long way when you need to have some head-space. We can all say thanks Ryder, and not feel guilty.