If you’ve got kids, then you have undoubtedly experienced many, many moments of a complete meltdown. And it’s not just the kids that have the meltdown either! But for those days when there doesn’t seem to be a moment of peace, you know you’ve got just to suck it up and go with it.
There are times when I am at home with a little monster who just won’t calm down and behave. I’m not keen to reward bad behaviour at all, but even I sometimes know you have to distract them in a positive way. My survival instincts have seen me throw a couple of things in a bag and head out the door with her tucked under my arm. We’ve headed to the park, the soft play centre or even the swimming pool. Anywhere that she can make those annoying noises without the neighbours banging on the walls anymore!
When kids are that age, I think it’s important to have fun days out as a family. But it’s really heartbreaking when they come home tired and naughty after such a good day out. Still, it’s essential to get them out of the house from time to time. I can’t stand kids TV, so for me, leaving her in front of it for half an hour is not my favourite way to get her to calm down.
At this age, children seem to have endless amounts of energy. It feels like my daily challenge revolves around wearing them out by bedtime so they’ll fall asleep and stay that way till morning. I have three young girls so it’s important that any activities are as inclusive as possible. So we dance. And we stomp. And we bounce and jump and crawl. I get a great workout. The kids often sit and stare. But eventually, with the right music, they’ll join in and we end up in a heap of giggles.
When it’s dry, I love packing a picnic and taking the three of them to the park. There is something about eating outdoors that has a positive effect on all of us. There are no food fights here. The sandwiches get eaten in their entirety. And the stench of post-dinner digestion quickly dissipates without me having to suffer it at all! Table manners seem to be far better sat cross-legged on a picnic blanket. Then off they go to play so I can tidy up without being pestered.
Production lines work great with three kids. You can get the biggest to do all the fine motor activities. The smallest can work on just moving from one place to the next. Megablocks can be passed up the line to be built into a dolly house. We can learn colours, numbers, and even shapes that way. Admittedly it will only last for as long as the smallest’s attention span. The key is to introduce regular changes to the requirements. Give them different actions to perform.
Keeping the kids entertained is often about getting involved on their level. Days out focusses their attention onto new fun things. Stay-at-home activities are more about sharing in a quieter game. So long as they’re happy, eh?