My kids are always busy. If they can’t find something to do, I will find that something for them or die trying. Bored kids pound each other, I’ve discovered. If you’re like me and can’t afford the constant ER trips, you’ll love this list! (Calm down. They don’t REALLY hospitalize each other. Yeesh.)
Exercise-My number one recommendation is to get some exercise in that kid! Kids need to run around. They have a lot of energy to burn and sitting still is boring. Make it a family affair and everybody wins. Take a walk, throw a Frisbee, or build a snowman together. My family hikes at a local park three days a week. We all get exercise, and the outdoors really recharges us. The kids sleep great at night too! My kids also enjoy yoga and dancing to The Wiggles. (So do I! shh!)
Get messy-Most* kids love to get messy. Play in the dirt, mud, sand, or snow. Get to finger painting. Use clay, glitter, markers, chalk. Anything dirty, dusty, messy, or wet is fair game. Wash the car afterwards or play in the sprinkler to make clean up easier.
(*Cheerio Champ does not like to get messy. Princess Cheerio loves to get messy. She then thinks it is funny to try to get Cheerio Champ messy.)
Give them a job-Kids love to help. Cheerio Champ is patient at the store when he gets to help his daddy with the shopping list. Princess Cheerio is super proud of herself when she puts a book back on the shelf when told to do so.
How old?-Age should be taken into consideration when trying to find a way to keep your child busy. Princess Cheerio, for instance, is 16 months old. She loves to put and take. Give her a small box and a few old Christmas cards and she is set for twenty minutes. Cheerio Champ (5 years), however, would much rather put together a 100 piece puzzle or play with his LeapPad 2. And I’m guessing when she’s a teenager, my friend’s 15 month old daughter won’t be as easily amused by a partially filled water bottle as she was on the car ride the other evening. You get the picture.
Read-Read to your kids as much as you can. It helps encourage a love of reading, and it builds vocabulary. Cuddling is also a bonus.
Tell them a story, teach them something, or both-Kids are intellectual sponges, and they think you are awesome. Use that to your advantage. Tell them a story about when you were a kid. Teach them about ants (hopefully not the magnifying glass part, creep). Make up a story to teach them an important moral about a situation they are having an issue with (There once was a girl named Susie. She refused to clean up her room…).
Try an experiment-Kids are so curious. They always want to know why something happens. Blow bubbles in the winter and watch them shatter, or make your own bubble solution! Add colored vinegar to baking soda with a medicine dropper (total win with Cheerio Champ).
TV or video games-This is an obvious one, but keep in mind that they can still learn something! There are amazing programs and movies out there geared towards kids of all ages, and video games have come a long way. They can get active, learn something, or do both things at once. And you can finally wash those dishes.
If all else fails, consult pinterest. They have boatloads of ideas. Good luck with the little monsters! See ya next week! XD
***Note: This post has centered around keeping kids busy so they don’t drive you insane, but I want to take a minute to point out that there is a benefit to down time too. You don’t want to over-schedule your kid with school, sports, play dates, piano lessons, etc. They will get burnt out and emotional. Think about how you feel if you don’t have a moment to kick up your feet. Kids need the down time to let their imaginations run free and sit quietly for a while. I strongly believe that as soon as a kid outgrows his or her nap, it should be replaced with a quiet time. Cheerio Champ has a quiet time that lines up with Princess Cheerio’s nap time. That works great for her. It’s quiet while she naps. It works great for him, because he’s not missing out on anything. And it works out for me, because I get to recharge, exercise, get chores done, and shower. (Yes. I do squeeze all of that in most days. Don’t you?) You can encourage your wee one to do a puzzle, draw, or read books during the quiet period. I like to keep Cheerio Champ in his room. Other than while he sleeps, it’s the only time he bothers to use it.***