One of my biggest anxieties when it comes to being a parent is not having any plans. I like to get out and do something every day; it keeps the little ones from going stir crazy, it helps them to explore, you potentially get adult conversation and of course a huge dose of fresh air. A change of scenery is key in my eyes to parenting and I regularly preach how good for the soul it is, so much so that on a day that I can’t get out of the house – I panic!
Now this doesn’t happen very often but occasionally we’ll have to wait in for a delivery or one of the boys will be poorly and we have no choice but to stay put. The reason I get so anxious about this is that I know how a day can quickly turn with a bored toddler and, not that our home is boring, when Jasper is used to going out to at least the park or Grandmas house every day, I always worry that he’ll see home as something less exciting. I picture the tantrums escalating, the shouty mum reappearing and see me clock watching for Daddy to come home and take over.
However, we have a home full of wonderful toys and if all else fails – pretty good imaginations and days like these can quickly fly by if the right structure is put in place. By structure I don’t mean 9am play dough (how awful does that sound), 9:15am reading, 9:45am TV; I just mean a bit of an idea in your head as to how the day will go.
I like to picture the day in chunks and break it down so that it seems less daunting. 12 hours until bedtime seems like such a long time but when you pop in breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner and bath it seems much more manageable. Instead of a 12 hours to fill I see little spaces between food to fill. I also like to add in Jenson’s nap time to that as I see that as a bit of down time with just the one child to entertain. I try to make this exciting and we have ‘Mummy Jasper time’ where we can do something really cool that babies can’t do like playing with his train track!
I then think of possible big activities that we can do and check that we have the right materials e.g. crafting and/or baking; I remind myself of the simple and easy things we can do like reading, dressing up and train tracks and I make sure to stick in some downtime like TV for when I need to make a cuppa!
Et voila; a 12 hour day is suddenly condensed down to reading, breakfast, getting dressed, playing with dinosaurs, dressing up, snack time, crafts, tv, lunch, playing in the ball pit, going on the trampoline, dinner, bath and bed – it may look hectic but it certainly doesn’t leave room for boredom and required little effort.
I think that part of the reason I feel the need to fill the time as well is guilt; I worry that he’s not having as much fun as he could be and that’s my responsibility but then I remind myself that downtime is so important. Kids need to be bored to work on their imaginations so a little bit of laying around is actually really beneficial; it’s when the whinging starts that a change of activity is needed!
Here’s a video of a typical day at home with Jasper and the things that we do to stay entertained:
How do you keep your little ones entertained on a ‘home day’?
Thanks for reading,