We all have those moments when we feel ‘tapped out’. Whether it’s due to the constant noise or you’re not feeling well, you sometimes need a time-out. I suggest you create a ’emergency kit’ that can entertain your children while you ‘check-out’.
Sometimes we need some time to gather our thoughts.
I keep a basket on the top shelf of my laundry filled with games, activities, books, stickers, beads, fashion cut-outs etc. These activities cater to my children’s interests and were picked up fairly inexpensively. My kit is regularly re-stocked and updated with new age appropriate activities.
As my kids get older their interests change and I have to stay up-to-date.
My kids find it a treat when I bring the basket down and it keeps them occupied for a fair wedge of time. It’s easy and can be customised to suit your children’s interests.
Customize Wrapping Paper
Your kids create personalised wrapping paper to give to friends and family. They draw, cut out pics, decorate etc the paper with illustrations that are relevant to the person. On giving the gift they explain the wrapping paper to the person before they open it. This whole process is lovely for the kids and for the person receiving the gift. This is also a good arts and craft activity to keep the little ones busy.
The Local Charity Shop
Whenever I go into the toy shop, Target or even Kmart I find myself constantly uttering the word ‘NO’. The cost of giving into their demands would send us broke really quickly and I think they already have enough. One place my kids LOVE is our local ‘Red Cross’ charity shop. They ask to go there weekly and I use it as an incentive to get them to behave. ‘When you get to 10 points you can get a $2 toy from the charity shop’. This gets them excited and doesn’t mean I have to break the bank to fulfill my promise.
Kids can’t help it, they automatically ask for new things.
Also you can pick up board games and puzzles for next to nothing. Sure some parts or bits may be missing but ultimately you don’t lose out. With the puzzles that are missing too many parts I then get the kids to use them in their arts and crafts to stick in pictures.
It’s also important to teach them to donate their toys.
I use the charity shop as a place for the kids to learn the value of money and for them to donate their toys. I get them to choose 2-3 things every month to donate so that they learn the act of giving back. Also it helps to keep the clutter of toys manageable. Just make sure you don’t end up buying back the toys you donated!
Short of Storage?
I live in a house with loads of character but has virtually no storage. It was fine with one child but when we added another two it became a struggle. The amount of clothes and stuff your children acquire is crazy! When people generously pass down their old clothes I used to have a little wave of anxiety trying to figure where I would put it. I hate clutter and waste. If I can’t use it or my kids won’t fit it then I pass it on or donate it because I don’t want it sitting in a plastic container in the garage. Sure I store clothes for my youngest for the future but well-meaning friends keep giving bags and bags of hand me downs.
Sometimes you need to be creative in developing storage solutions.
In my travels around charity shops I would see loads of dusty and dirty suitcases. Underneath the dirt there are some interesting suitcases that with a bit of elbow grease and vision can be handy. I like to line mine with scented tissue paper and store next seasons clothes. Sometimes I put toys, books and other clutter in a suitcase and then store it under the bed or on wardrobes. These suitcases are usually only $2-$4 which can be cheaper than the big plastic containers.
At the end of the day the kids and I are pretty tired. My patience is fairly short especially with bath and dinner time still to conquer. To make dinner time a little more manageable I cut up, portion and label the veggies for the week in advance. All I need to do is throw them in the steamer to cook. This also forces me to plan a weekly menu which is good for organising my shopping list, budget and I can make meals ahead of time and store them. My kids are told at the beginning of the day what to expect for dinner which may be greeted with cheers or jeers.
It’s basic but effective preparation.
Regardless by dinner time they know exactly what to expect. When they make requests that are not on the menu I tell them that I’m not running a restaurant!!
A free activity for the kids is priceless! The cost of doing a lot of fun things with my kids is just too expensive. Money needs to be stretched to meet the demands of everyday expenses and unfortunately little is left to spend on luxuries. We are lucky enough to live near a wonderful public library. Every week they have a ‘story time’ which runs for about 40 minutes. It’s full of songs and wonderful books which correspond to a monthly them like animals or food.
It is an amazing resource but many parents have no idea that such programs are available in our area.
During the school holidays it runs a variety of interesting programs. Last summer holiday they had an interactive animal show which allowed the kids to get up and personal with some interesting species. Libraries and community centres are brilliant resources to utilize it’s worth spending some time researching what is available in your region.
In the morning I think it is a wonderful way to switch on his little brain for the class work ahead.