Being involved in your kids’ interests is not always easy, I realize that. But it may be worth looking for opportunities. As a new stay-home mom, I am always trying to figure out things to do with my kids (ages 4 and 2) that are educational, fun, but don’t bore me to tears.
Here’s a bit of backstory. It wasn’t too long ago, just a few months ago, that I abruptly and thankfully was given the opportunity to transition from working mother to stay home mom. I had been looking forward to doing so for years, but this transition posed its own set of problems.
Mainly – there were some things that Mr. Hot Stuff and I had knowingly compromised on because of lack of energy and the effort involved. For instance, in the past we had let our kids take toys to the table if they happened to have them, we weren’t regulating or keeping an eye on their juice & milk intake, we didn’t have any rule about where eating is okay, etc.
How we did it was if it wasn’t any major impact, then we’d usually let it slide. But when I was able to stay home, it was great because then I had the time and mental focus to actually start working on these things. So, we’ve successfully transitioned to set limits on juice & milk, eating is only allowed in the kitchen and dining room, etc.
But one of the battles… and oh is it a battle, is the almighty television. I have to say we have never had cable TV, but my kids have always watched lots of videos and DVDs (oh, and Netflix too). Back when I was working, it was the easiest and most comfortable solution for all of us to sit and watch TV in the evenings. Because my kids were used to watching TV at home frequently, we’d end up watching a lot of TV on the weekends. Yes, I know it wasn’t the best scenario, but honestly we were both exhausted and didn’t even have energy to decide on a limit.
I’m still sort of debating myself on this limitation… I go back and forth with how much of a daily limit to set. The girls still love to watch their movies and I love having them entertained so I can do laundry and clean the kitchen! But I am really making a concerted effort to get them interested in other things so that the default will be asking to do something else besides watch a show when they wake up in the morning.
Hence the reason for this post. Not more than 10 minutes ago I realized something. My kids are young, and I am not one of those people that particularly enjoys doing most things that a 4 year old or especially a 2 year old enjoys. My hat goes off to the parents who can, because sitting around stacking things or playing pretend and doing things like that bore me to death.
But recently I discovered that I still enjoy coloring, especially after we made the switch from the washable crayons (that come in 8 colors) to regular crayons that come in hundreds of colors.
In the last few weeks I’ve been setting things aside and just sitting down to color with Ballerina Girl, my 4 year old. She loves to color and is very artistic (and is actually quite good at coloring for her age). I realized that SHE loves coloring with me. She will watch how I do it and is learning things about colors and art faster than she would just figuring things out on her own. And best thing ever – if I notice she’s bored or doing something I don’t want her to do, if I suggest coloring together she will drop everything and wait for me to go print off some more coloring pages.
Since I noticed this I’ve been trying to do it a lot more and even am trying to keep it scheduled into a daily routine. It’s quality time for us, we can do educational coloring pages so it helps her learn her alphabet and numbers, she’s learning about art concepts, and I get to sit down and do something that doesn’t require me to think.
Little Rambo the 2-year old doesn’t particularly enjoy coloring, though she usually likes to sit with us and sort the crayons by color, so it usually works out. I would still like to find something she can be interested in (and would love any suggestions) but I have a feeling that in a few years we will find something to do together.
So there’s a stay home mom tip – be involved in their interests if you can, because it will increase your quality time with them, and it will increase the quality of the activity for them as well.