Lately I have been very busy, - no that is an understatement – I have been extremely busy. For several reasons, there have been a few days that, at most, I have probably slept 3-4 hours. Then the morning comes and you still need to take care of the little ones, keep them entertained and try not to sleep while cooking dinner.
Some days are just bad, or busy, and it’s on these special days that you feel you need some extra time to
relax, or just sit and have a cup of tea without being called or pulled every five seconds.
What do I do when I need time, or I feel too tired to function correctly (if that is even a possibility)? The key is engaging them in easy-to- do activities, that require little or no work (cleaning) and that still helps developing skills. Here are a few ideas:
1. Do you have a park nearby? Take them to the park. It won’t only help them with gross motor skills and social skills, it will also make them tired (or at least less active) for the rest of the day. I go to the park every morning (around 9) and I can see that they are happier during the day when we spend some quality time playing there first thing in the morning. If I am too tired, I tend to take the sand toys with me and I sit with them to build something. If you don’t have a sand park, make breakfast and take it with you. Have a brunch picnic. They’ll love it and it will be relaxing for everyone. If there are no parks, enjoy going for a walk with them.
2. Read books. Especially good after spending some energy at the park. Sit in a comfortable place and read a book to them. I am reading chapters from a book that I owned when I was little: “The little witch”. I find it entertaining, since I haven’t read it in a long time and it is fun for them as well.
3. Water play. For some reason, children love playing with water. Either filling up the sink, putting a towel on the floor and a little recipient with water, or a water table outside (use a beach umbrella to avoid too much sun
exposure). All my daughter needs is 2 cups half full and a towel; she will spend more than 30 minutes passing water from one cup to other.
4 . Put extra emphasis on making them your little helpers. I tend to make them help with regular chores, but I go a little further when I am having a extra busy day. This way your not only gently applying some rules, you are also giving them a sense of responsibility.
5. Fine motor skill games: Pipe cleaners through buttons, legumes in a bottle, anything that can help fine motor skills will keep the children entertained for a while. If your child is older, add an extra challenge by asking them to do it with tweezers.
6. Hide and seek: Hide things around the house, with “clues” on where the item is hidden, or tell them whether they are “cold” or “hot” if they are getting close or further away. My son had great fun doing this on a rainy weekend, you can adjust your “clues” to challenge them sufficiently.