We’ve all been there: frazzled children at the end of the day. Or sometimes, entirely un-frazzled children, but you need to get some jobs done before taking them out. Default move: switch the TV on.
Everyone does it (yes, even when your job is to encourage children to use their imgination!) and there’s usually a reasonable amount of parent-guilt that they ought to be doing something else. Something more ‘wholesome’.
We thought it might be helpful to jot down some of our fall-backs for when they’ve already exceeded the TV-quota! Or you’re saving it for later…
So simple, yet so effective. Challenge your children to find the perfect spot and simply drape a throw, duvet, sheet over said area and let them get going. Usually requires minimal help and when you have a three-year-old kleptomaniac it gives them a legitimate place to hide their stash. Time busy: 30 mins (average)
This worked well for one of ours who could while hours away making elaborate pirate maps. He even managed to draw an awesome treasure map when I lost a phone one day…only to be blown away when we went back to crime scene the next day and found it! Time busy: 15 mins max
3. Dog training
Obviously a heavy caveat that you need a pretty docile dog and slightly older children for this. But we will give the boys equal amounts of doggy kibble and challenge them to teach the dog some new tricks! Time busy: 15 mins max
4. Biscuit decorating
This should only really be done before you’re going out somewhere that they can burn off the excess sugar! However, some plain biscuits and those squeezy icing sugar thingies will keep them happy for a while. Just expect a few ‘accidents’ that mean they want to ‘clean up’. Time busy: 15-20 mins
5. A play
This is one that I remember so much from my childhood. When you have more than one child, plays are awesome. Our five year old and (just) three year old will sit down to come up with a tenuous plot, run around grabbing props, before getting us in for the ‘show’! You might need to give them extra support the first couple of times but when they go off and do this independently, it’s awesome. Time busy: up to 30 mins, all in
The above are just some of the fail-safes in our household. We’ll aim to post more of these, along with game ideas soon. It would be great to hear what works in your house and we’ll aim to include them as well!