Ah, summer time. Hot sun. Playing in the pool. Running through the sprinklers. Bare feet on the grass. Eating popsicles. It’s the best when you’re a kid.
I remember one summer we spent with a mom who these days be crowned a “Pinterest mom” – she had a different activity scheduled for every day of the week. It was awesome. We went to the beach, to the park, to museums and the library. We had a blast.
Sometimes I can feel overwhelmed or burdened to become this activity-planning, Pinterest-worthy mom. There’s a lot to live up to on the Interwebs.
However, I’ve made small, achievable decisions that have helped me to make my kids’ days fun, engaging and (sneakily) educational – that don’t make me feel overwhelmed. I hope this can help you too if you’re in the same boat!
So you’re stuck at home during this quarantine and your kid is driving you crazy…what do you do?! I’m constantly in a state of searching for activities for my high energy kid, Finn. Aside from displaying the Gospel to my kids, it seems like my #1 daily goal is to get energy out of them! God did not grant me children who will sit quietly and color or read books all day. So I’ve had to learn the hard way how to get energy out of my boys through trial and error. This is some of what I’ve learned.
My strategy for the day is typically to feed them, get energy out of them, and then try to have some quiet time. I’ve found that they will play on their own more independently if those two needs are met. Our day starts with breakfast, a short devotional where we read a Bible verse together, and then trying to go for a long walk or some sort of activity (preferably outdoors) that will help Finn burn off some energy.
So, if you’re working from home because of this COVID pandemic, I highly recommend trying to feed and de-energize your kiddos before trying to get some work done. (Another helpful hint for working from home: try to get as much work done as possible BEFORE your kids wake up. Get the hardest tasks done first, right from the start of the day. Trust me. Try it. You can thank me later.)
A few helpful principles for wearing out your high energy child:
Utilize muscles that aren’t typically used – this is tiring for all of us!
Challenge them with activities slightly above their ability. If it’s too hard, they won’t want to do it. But if it’s too easy, they won’t burn off as much energy. It’s a balancing act!
Be okay with repetition – if something works, don’t be afraid to do it again and again…and again. You’ve probably noticed, kids love repetition.
When in doubt, go outside. Nature is somehow simultaneously stimulating and calming. God is amazing!
Right now, Finn LOVES doing “science experiments.” We received a super cool science kit from my mom (the chemist) for Christmas, and it has been the gift that keeps on giving. (And also the gift that keeps facilitating messes…)
Lately, it’s felt like our afternoons stretch on forever before it’s time to prep for dinner, so we’ve been doing science experiments to pass the time. I prep the activities at the end of nap time and then he has something to look forward to once he wakes up!
I’ve searched Pinterest for all sorts of science experiments, but it seems like I never have quite the right supplies or ingredients. These are the ones we’ve done that you should be able to do with supplies you have at home right now!
I don’t know about you, but just before dinner time is one of the toughest parts of the day. Trying to get a meal together while my kids are just DONE and I’m just DONE…is, well, how us moms lose our minds, amiright?!?
I thought I’d share some of my go-to activities that help me get through meal prep. The goal with these activities is that Finn can play by himself with minimal supervision (so, for example, painting/gluing/cutting something would be a big no-no). Also, I try to pick something that he can’t play with ALL the time. For example, he pretty much always has access to his trucks, but he doesn’t have unlimited access to his Play Doh. These activities might give me a solid 15 minutes of (mostly) uninterrupted time to get the bulk of the meal prep done. For most of these activities, I put Finn into his high chair or sit him at the kitchen table so I can keep an eye on him.