Most days my life feels like a playground roundabout – the kids are spinning out of control, life is NOISY and someone has lost a shoe – and I wonder how I will survive my afternoon with the kids, let alone parent them to the teen years. Gosh, the pages of my calendar just keep flipping over and it’s already June and so I’ve made the call to hop off the roudabout and just take a minute to figure out how to be present in the moment and not wish away this season of whining and kids chaos.
After we adopted Kira we made the decision for me to scale down my formal work hours so that I could be home with the kids in the afternoons. We felt that as a family pieced together through adoption it was especially important for us to create opportunities to establish family attachment and grow sibling relationships by letting the kids spend more time with each other and at home with us (me). It’s been a crazy ride and its meant a work transition from Physio to independent Event Manager. I love the flexible chaos that working from home brings, but it has made my work-home boundaries a little blurry as I’ve constantly got my phone and emails at arm’s reach and have often dragged the kids along to my commitments. In many ways, it’s added to my stress.
Experts say that little kids need quantity time over quality time and so I’ve rested easy knowing that a slightly distracted mom at home is still worth the work from home sacrifice. But now that the kids are older, I’m trying to be more deliberate with my parenting choices and free up some time for them to #playmore, both independently and with me.
Here are three ways we’re trying to create more moments to #playmore:
- Limit screen time and let them be little – Yes, my kids love ‘Trolls’ and ‘Storks’ as much as the next kid but I’ll admit that we only recently discovered the wonders of ‘PJ Masks’, after a kid’s themed party. We’re a bit out of the loop, but that’s ok. And as much as my kids love superheroes, they’re living vicariously through their friends when they adopt ‘the pose’, as they’ve never laid eyes on an episode of ‘Superman’. The time will come for ‘He-Man’ and ‘Harry Potter’, but my six year old is happy to watch Barney from time to time at the moment. For now I’d love my kids to create stories in their heads and enjoy imaginative play rather than just reproducing scenes from their favourite shows.
- Avoid over-scheduling – We let Ilan choose one extra mural this year and he chose Tag rugby. I love that he loves tag but my mom heart would love him to be exposed to cricket, soccer, karate and science too. Nope, my boy needs time to play at home and play with his friends. Moms, I know we want to give our kids the whole world but our kids can’t do it all. It’s ok. Let’s keep life simple.
- One hour of green time – We live in a three bed townhouse with a small garden – I love our space but my kids often pace up and down like caged lions ready for their next kill. I read an article recently that suggested parents include an hour of ‘green time’ or outdoor play into their days. I think this is a great idea! We don’t get this right all the time, but the other afternoon we went down to Keurboom Park and collected pinecones and there wasn’t a single squabble for at least an hour. They didn’t even ask to go to the ‘real park’, you know the one with the slide and the nausea-inducing roundabout.
One of the biggest perks of being home with the kids in the afternoons, besides for creating space for play, is that I feel that I’m pretty in tune with each of them emotionally. I try my best to be emotionally available right then and their in the middle of playtime. I love having the space to talk about feelings with my kids and get to the bottom of why my son is crying about his Grandpa in heaven for example, a man whom he has never even met.
It’s never too early to start learning about emotions. I love that Fisher Price are on the same wavelength and have developed a new toy – the Fun Feelings Monster – that helps little ones identify and process their own emotions. A simple swipe of the hand can send the monster’s roller face spinning through different expressions and shows your little one that feelings can change quickly. Each expression plays a sound that helps reinforce the feeling, encouraging kids from 6 months and up to listen & respond. Nice one, Fisher Price.
If our youngsters have the time and space to process their emotions on their own and with our guidance, I’m certain that we can raise more balanced, centred kids who are less likely to fly off the handle when life gets unavoidably busy.
So moms, who’s with me? Join me as I hop off the roundabout and slow down, simplify, snuggle more and allow the Fun Feelings Monster to help our kids recognise and talk through their feelings with us.
Visit the Fisher-Price website and like their Facebook to explore the full #PlayMore product range.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.