I hear it so often from you guys! My child gets bored at home, we drive each other crazy, I don’t know what to do with them when we are home, going out is so much easier!
Well Keepers! Help is here! With a little bit of effort, research and planning (not a lot I promise!) you can have days at home without everyone going completely bonkers! If you have started to read this article and already thinking to yourself ‘No thanks! going out every day suits us just fine!”, I beg that you first read this article on why being home a little more is super beneficial to your kiddies and ultimately your family. Trust me on this!
If you plan to have a day at home and not go out then no Mumma should be without a basic plan. The more you do this the easier it will become but the first few times you try, it will take a lot of supervision and direction. The reward though is HUGE my friend! Imagine some time at home where you can sit down and read a magazine (or at least half haha), have a cup of coffee uninterrupted or make a phone call without constantly being pulled away. IT IS POSSIBLE Keepers! Read on!
1. GET A BASIC ROUTINE
Firstly you should write up a basic routine of your day and include as much as you can/want. This list can be as basic as breakfast/lunch/dinner/naps or as detailed as every 30 minutes. For an example of my routine and a FREE printable click here.
2. THINK UP SOME ‘GO TO’ ACTIVITIES
Next you will need to come up with some activities that your child can do autonomously, with mild supervision, with a sibling and with you. Including a few activities from each category will be the best way to run your day. It also gives you quick ‘go to ideas’ in those moments you need them to be entertained that doesn’t include TV or smart tablets. For more ideas on this download our printable FREE activities list. Keep this on your fridge for those moments you need a QUICK go to idea! Once you have a good look at these activities, don’t be too quick to judge whether your child will do them own not. Kids actually need low key moments in their day where they can think and learn to use their imagination. All of these activities promote those values. The more effort you put into getting your kids to do this daily and keep the activities age appropriate the more you will be rewarded. Bonus! These activities are all enjoyed with minimal parental involvement. WIN!
3. START YOUR DAY WITH ACTIVITIES THEY CAN DO AUTONOMOUSLY
The morning is when children are most settled and content. If you have multiple children you will need to think up activities that are age appropriate such as Lego for older kids and building blocks for babies.
Are you scoffing at me thinking your kids will never do an activity on their own? Well you are wrong, the earlier you begin the easier it is to implement but don’t give up on your older children. Initially when you are first starting out you may need to supervise them for a few days and keep it short to 15 minutes. Once they successfully do the activity with no arguments or complaining give them heaps of praise. I mean lap it on thick! If they do a terrible job at first I wouldn’t focus on that and definitely don’t punish them. Find the positive and let them know it, then move on to something else they enjoy like morning tea or TV time. Eventually once they start to understand what is required of them and they genuinely enjoy the activity given to them this will then be a window of time for you. It takes consistency and effort, if you only try three times in a month it won’t be enough for them to get used to it and you will struggle. Same for the type of activities you choose for them, if they aren’t age appropriate they can get frustrated or bored. So head to pinterest, facebook and google for a plethora of ideas to keep your child interested. Or download my favourite list of activities that I use regularly for my kids.
4. KEEP MEALTIMES AS A SEPARATE ACTIVITY
It’s best to sit everyone down on a picnic rug/mat and enjoy some conversation and not just eating in front of the TV. I am super guilty of this one regularly! It’s so easy to let them eat in the lounge room in front of the TV to get some peace. It’s the one time of day I’m guaranteed for peace, even if it’s 5 minutes. The problem with this is that you loose a very powerful bargaining tool. If you allow them to have too much access to TV it looses the excitement and just becomes another activity instead of a reward for all the other things expected of them earlier that day. It’s not bribery and I don’t recommend bargaining with your kids so they actually do what you ask. Eventually they will learn that if they are good and follow your expectations for the day they will get TV time (or whatever digital device you allow).
5. NAPS/ROOM PLAY
This is my favourite part of the day and I have worked hard with my children to achieve this. The benefits are massive and I truly recharge in this time. It has become an essential part of my day, watch out everyone if Mummy hasn’t had her hour of alone time! For kids that are older and have never had room play before it will take lots of encouragement (even some new toys just for room play) and patience on your part. Consistency is KEY! Keep it up and gradually increase the amount of time they are in there. In my house – no Room play – no TV until they do! When kids go to their rooms to play (no technology!) it helps to re-centre them and regulate moods. It gives them a safe and quiet space that no one else can intrude on. If you have children that share a room you might need to stagger room play or provide another area they can play alone and alternate. If you have any questions about any of these points please leave a comment and I can try to help you individually.
For more ideas on how to implement ‘room play’ or ‘independent play’ as some call it you should read this article written in 2008 by Valerie Plowman.
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