Keeping kids busy can be such a pain
Let me premise this. I am NOT a Pinterest mom. I don’t plan out a whole day’s worth of activities and have happy kids running around the backyard for hours on end. Never have been that mom, never will be. But I usually do a lot for my kids. Probably more than I should. Now that we’re trapped together for the foreseeable future there are moments and even DAYS when I just don’t want to be their event planner. So… I don’t. Because Meh. Here are few ‘meh’ ways I have been keeping them busy.
Look under the couch
I’ll admit I was a little surprised by the effectiveness of this. I asked a kid to look under the couch and pull out some dog toys. Apparently, it was a treasure trove under there. He found toys that we haven’t seen for months, approximately 138 balls of various sizes and colors, a clown nose, and lego pieces for daaaayyyyysssss.
Not only did it keep him busy for a solid 30 minutes, but the treasures are still providing value a day later. I might unleash him on a closet or something today. The house is going to remain a disaster zone for the foreseeable future, so if the home version of dumpster diving keeps them busy… Meh.
Keep all your boxes. ALL OF THEM. We currently have a box-house with a functioning door, windows, and a mail slot. They also come in handy when you want to throw and/or destroy something. Huzzah! Now your online shopping habit is helping entertain your tiny humans!
Bonus if you have pets, especially a cat. Playing ‘find the cat’ provides a solid 10 minutes of entertainment that doesn’t require me to get up or do anything.
My children have effectively taught our puppy how to pull the couch cushions around to make herself a nest to lay in. Before being trapped in our house for this quarantine, I HATED them destroying the couch. Now… Meh. They gather up pillows, cushions, blankets, etc, and make themselves a giant mess/fort thing while I sit here and type. Ain’t no one coming over to sit on that couch! Everyone wins!
Sure, they yell and cry when I make them clean it up, but that leads me to my next ‘activity’.
‘Do it yourself’
This is a great time to stop doing shit for your kids. Like opening that bag of mini-muffins or finding their shoe. We’ve got nowhere to go, so who cares if it takes all day? The children may not like this form of keeping busy very much, but it sure does kill time. While they may yell at you for not helping them turn on the TV, they manage to learn a new skill and you don’t have to get up or stop reading your book (note: you must have the ability to tune out the whining for this one!)
I call this ‘life class’. It’s part of our homeschool. Figure it out, kiddo! Because we have NOTHING else going on. If it takes them 3 hours to put on a sock? Meh.
Youtube/ Video games
Yeah, yeah I know you’re judging me. But…meh. Some times you just don’t give a flying fuck what your kids do so long as you get to take a shit in peace. Or hell, even take a nap. Let them have the screens. Take a few minutes to learn about some parental control options and then walk away. No one will die. Getting comments or side-eye because your kids are on screens a lot? Meh. They’re YOUR kids.
This also gives them a plethora of ideas for active play. See ‘Thunderdome’ for more details.
Let them decorate the house
Y’all my walls look like a museum of fine art’s child puked on it. A solid 60-70% or the artwork my kid makes winds up on the walls. I gave him some tape and let him go wild. Granted this is a normal thing in our house, but it’s just gotten a little more… intense these past few weeks.
Then there’s the other shit. Like the stacks of blocks, houses made out of toys, mazes built from legos… Leave em there. Let the kids make the house into a museum of their own creations. As long as you have a place to sit and/or work… Meh.
Thunderdome- The ultimate in keeping kids busy
I think of this as basically the majority of my awesome childhood. I remember taking every soft thing I could find and piling it up at the bottom of the stairs… then leaping from as high up as I dared into the pile. Or chopping down a 30 ft tree in the woods behind my house. Or burying and Urkel doll in the sandbox only to find it years later. Pretty much everything goes when it’s Thunderdome day!
I’m not saying we should let our kids have 90’s-esque afternoons or anything (Because yikes). HOWEVER, I can look the other way when they reenact a youtube video on the trampoline. I can pretend I don’t see them when they sneak a cookie at 9 am. I once microwaved bologna in water just to see what it would taste like… I can let my kids do shit like that. The helicopter blades can come off and my kids can test their theories, do some experiments, and stop worrying about every little thing getting them in trouble. They’re already trapped at home, so supervising EVERYTHING? Meh. Nope.
Thunderdome. Anything goes! (Almost). Think about it… they’re trapped at home. If they’re going to fuck something up this is probably the best time to do it. If they have a sibling, let them learn them figure out the boundaries of friendship without constant adult intervention. Let them figure out their OWN thresholds for stuff. How late can they really stay up? What happens if they eat cookies for dinner? What’s inside that remote control car? Is it ACTUALLY fun to watch TV all day? We all wonder about or lust after certain things… let them figure it out! Because if not now…then when?