With three boys roughly equally spaced I often get the impression that I’ve been here done this before. Not just with clothes, which is inevitable. But with behaviours and play activities.
Photo credit: sean dreilinger
The first time my oldest threw himself on the floor and let us know how he felt I was stunned, embarrassed and lost. Fast forward the middle one, we could smile and had a few options up our sleeve and now the youngest tried for a week then gave up ( Well right now he’d rather climb than tantrum). We still get thrown a loop don’t get me wrong. Each child is unique and brings a little something the other one didn’t so there is still the challenge but I feel my confidence has grown with each child.
I think play activities can catch you like this too.
We can get a bit like a deer in the headlights. So many options and that crippling tiredness.
Apart from the obvious reach fors. Here are some activities we’ve loved over the years.
5 ways to overcome the play activity blues
If it’s not working, it’s not working try something else
You child may not be ready for crafts, playing by themselves, not creating a mess, always dumps the Legos, sit for anything like you expected. Not everyday needs to be a fight. Try something else and come back. Development may happen in steps. I see my children skip steps and fall down the steps all the time. Keep heading toward the goal but don’t get discouraged along the way.
My child won’t do craft activities- what now?
Repeat. If it worked before it is likely to work again
We all have those moments when the play activity goes well for them, you and the universe. Then we forget what we did or what happened exactly and it’s like a moment of loss. Keep a record of successful activities so when we have, “one of those days” we can try something we know worked well before. That’s not to say it will work well again but we know it did….once.
Try a new activity
Getting stuck in a rut is easy. We love routines. Buy the same cereal and coffee. Unless something jumps out at us like a Sale or Advert we’re pretty much creatures of habit. All good except sometimes even we get bored. Trying something new requires more work but the rewards are usually right behind.
If you love reading but 2 hours of reading to your little one is getting old even though you had decided it was what you wanted to do. Try using an Audio story. Love reading yourself but too tired to read at night try a non fiction audio book or parenting podcast.
Places to find activities-
- ask your mother what you did?
- Online activity sites
- Ask on forums
- watch a How to Video
Process over product
Change the way you think about play activities. They maybe learning experiences but they need to be fun. Remind yourself of what learning is happening when the button won’t stick with the glue stick ( problem solving). Is our reaction to go and get the white glue or rescue the child? Once you’re retrieved the thrown button and everyone is calmer. What happens next? That lovely activity cut lovingly from the magazine is now a big old mess of high emotions and high expectations but the opportunity to grow socially and emotionally should not be forgotten. Could you change the activity to a science one of investigation, think on your feet? An essential adult skill is the ability to work through problems logically, the knowledge to know when to walk away from situations that are frustrating or dangerous and knowing how to check our feelings. Tell our boss they are a dumb idiot maybe what we want to say, at times but we learn that doesn’t keep us our job and saying something else would have got the same point across.
I guess I’m saying that many times it will be the things you learn as you go along over the end product especially in the Early years. We can help our little guys and appreciate without belittling their efforts.
Whether the weather be hot.
Whether the weather be cold
Whether the weather, whatever the weather, whether you like it or not……………………..Go Outside!
Changes everyone’s moods.
What do you do when you have the play activity blues?
If you have a post or resource about overcoming the play activity blues to add feel free to add this in the comments as well. 🙂