As you may or may not know, I’m a stay-at-home mom. I know a lot of working mamas would love to stay at home with their kids, but it just isn’t possible. So let me acknowledge now that I do know I am very, very blessed to be able to stay home with my kiddos while they’re young…
BUT, with that being said, nobody ever told me it would be so tiring. Or boring.
It was easier to go out and about when I only had one child. Human interaction beyond my baby was possible, but now that I have two little ones (ages 2 and 4), leaving the house is a challenge. I usually stick around the house all day because, well, it’s just easier. I don’t have to take an hour to get the kids ready to go somewhere, and I can (usually) contain them to one general area within the house.
But as easy as it may be to stay cooped up all day, it’s also very lame. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy interacting with my kids, but playing legos for 2 hours isn’t really my idea of a good time.
If you’re a working mom, I’m sure you want to spend time with your littles, but in a calm and quiet manner; not in a rough and tumble kind of way.
If you ever feel tired or bored when entertaining your children, I’m here to tell you, you’re SO not alone. Below are some tips that are sure to help you entertain and play with your children, without overexerting yourself too much. If you’re not a supermom with super energy, fake it ’til you make it, right??
1. Play board games or simple card games.
This tip has changed my LIFE… Ok, I may be exaggerating just a smidge, but it has helped me out tremendously.
I can only play blocks and cars for so long before I get pretty bored. When that happens, I whip out the board games! Because board games are a more structured form of play, they’re more entertaining for me (and probably you, too). Board games make it easy to have fun with the kiddos and relax (and maybe even lay down) at the same time.
This goes for simple card games, too. We have a standard deck of cards that we play Go Fish with, but we also have themed cards like Old Maid, Slap Jack, and Crazy Eights. Remember: the family that plays together, stays together! 😉
This is one of my favorite go-to activities. My kids really enjoy it when I read to them, so I take advantage of it often (and not just because I get to sit down and relax). We have many (probably too many) books, so we can read plenty of ‘em before ever reading the same one twice.
If you don’t have the luxury of owning your own collection of books, borrow some from your local library. Read through them with your kiddos, return the old ones, and then borrow new ones each week! Your kids will always have new material to read and their brains will be bursting with knowledge. YAY books! Speaking of libraries…
3. Go to classes at your public library.
When we’re really itching to get out of the house, my kids enjoy going to classes at the library. Our public library has classes for all ages. Terrific Twos and Preschool Story time are our favorites. They get to listen to stories, do rhymes, sing songs, and make crafts. The best part? Mama gets to sit back and enjoy an hour of peace! After the class is over, we usually choose a few books to check out and head home!
4. Put together busy bags or boxes.
So this one takes a little planning and prepping on your end, but it keeps the kids busy for awhile, so to me, it’s worth it.
All you have to do is find a bag, box, or some type of container. Put different activities into it that you think will hold your child’s attention (examples: coloring books, crafts, books, small toys, etc). Pull it out when you want some free time away from the kiddos to do whatever it is you need (or want) to do.
5. Bring them to a park.
Now I know I said going out is difficult with two kids, but a park is totally doable. Parks are made especially for kids to run around, scream, and play (not to mention, the playground equipment does all the hard work for you).
If your kids are young, go to a park catered to their age range so you don’t have to worry about heights and falls. In doing this, you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the fresh air while they have fun (but unfortunately no snoozing).
6. Two words (or maybe one hyphenated word): Play-doh
Ahhh, play-doh; at least 20 to 30 minutes of entertainment for my kids. Play-doh is so fun to play with, even for me!
Find some cookie cutters, or buy accessories made especially for play-doh. Let your child explore this fun (and somewhat messy, so beware) sensory activity. You can join them, too! Lay on the floor, exert no energy, and become a kid again!
7. Let them put on a show for you.
If your kids are old enough, let them put on a show or play for you. As a child, I used to do magic shows and skits for my parents A LOT… bless their hearts.
Let your kids dress up and decide what kind of performance they want to do. All you have to do is sit and enjoy your kids’ creativity (you may want to pull out your camera for this one).
8. Give your kiddos a big box and markers.
9. Or give them a video camera.
My siblings and I used to make movies as kids all the time. It was so much fun, and now we have proof of just how goofy we really were.
Let your kids explore the house or backyard with the camera. It will be fun to see what they do and say. If they’re still a little young, just make sure they don’t break the camera… or anything else for that matter.
10. Imagination play: Doctor
Nancy and Michelle over at Smocks & Sprinkles suggest pretending to be a patient and your child can be the doctor. You can act as if you’re gravely ill while your little one fusses over you to make you feel “all better”. You can draw out your symptoms for as long as needed. Perhaps long enough for a little nap… just pretend you’re put under for surgery. That’ll do the trick.
11. Play with sidewalk chalk.
Find a sidewalk or driveway, sit down, and doodle. Make pictures and scenes, or trace your kids and draw them to be different characters (examples: ballerina, police officer, basketball player). Or, let your kids trace you. All you have to do is lay down 😉
12. Watch a movie together.
This one is easy. Turn on Netflix and find a movie that you all can enjoy together. Relaxing and fun for the whole fam.
13. Make some crafts or color.
There are some really cool crafts you can find on the internet these days. Pick one out and get artsy. This one is creative and easy, and requires little to no physical effort.
Likewise, coloring is a super laid back activity. And fun, too. Get the kids their supplies, grab an adult coloring book for yourself, and color your way to reduced stress and anxiety.
14. Let your kids entertain themselves sometimes.
In my opinion, it’s ok to decline your child’s invitation to play on demand. When a child has to play alone, creativity and imagination happen. I’m all for checking emails or reading a chapter out of my book while my kiddos entertain themselves. It helps them become self sufficient and independent… not to mention, it allows me to take a moment to breeeathe.
And that’s it, mama. What are some of the things you do to entertain your children when you’re tired or bored? It’s a lot easier than you might think. Don’t feel guilty either. The kids won’t even know the difference! 😉
Until next time…