Make your normal duties something fun to do WITH your kids. With my first two boys I was so busy just trying to get things done, I sent them out of the room while I was folding laundry or cooking. With my 3rd I have finally figured out, that while it may take a bit longer to do it with him, it is a lot more fun for both of us to sort and fold laundry together. It may be messier, but cookies are yummier if he helps make them.
Make their normal chores fun with songs. When my boys brush their teeth, I sing a song. When they wash their hands we sing a song. When we are setting the table, we sing a song. Somehow music makes things that are not so fun, more fun!
Have stuffed animals or dolls help with transitions. If it is going to be time for a bath soon, instead of you telling them, have Bubba the Bear announce “5 minutes until bath time!” T3 is happier to go if I am not the one telling him.
Bath time can be the best time of day! Having fun, simple bath toys makes bathing a lot more fun. Even letting them bring in cars or other toys that can be wet can make a bath more exciting. I find that if I sit with my feet in the bath and let them soak (and give them a scrub) that my little one is so happy to tell me the tales of his day, bath time is a fun sharing time instead of a getting clean time. (What little boy likes to get clean?)
Have a menu for meals and snacks. Sometimes it is hard for my boys to know what they want to eat for breakfast or lunch. I came up with a simple menu, with pictures for my non-reader. So the boys will sit down and look at their menus and order. I don’t do it every day, but the days I do they get a kick out of it!
Get child size cleaning tools and let them help you clean! A small broom is so much fun for them to use. I fill up the sink with soapy water and T3 loves to wash the plastic cups and bowls for me. T1 and T2 are great at cleaning the bathroom because I taught them how, starting with using baby wipes to wipe things down. Now that they are bigger they use Lysol wipes, or Windex and towels. With 3 boys, having them help clean the bathroom encourages them to aim correctly in the first place!
Simplify the toys and books you already have. Sometimes the more toys you have the more overwhelmed your kids are with choices and they cause chaos instead of playing nicely. I just did a major simplification of T3’s toys and he loves it and so am I!
Have some good basic games that you enjoy playing with your kids. They are great for filling empty time or while waiting for an appointment. Something as simple as I Spy can be an easy way to make time pass more quickly in a waiting room. I carry around Apples to Apples cards when we are going somewhere we may have to wait and we can play an impromptu game. We all are much happier with something fun to keep us busy when waiting.
Have balloons and bubbles. These are always good for adding a little fun into a day. Bubbles are best for outside and balloons for inside – unless you want slippery floors.
It is all in the attitude and if you are flexible and willing to follow your child’s lead, you will find that they are pretty good at making things fun, if you let them! It is often me saying, “calm down, be quiet” That can ruin their fun. If I am willing to join in with them, we all have fun!
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