Days as a mom are sometimes challenging and long, especially with little ones at home! We always have the mom guilt, thinking: “Have I done enough with my kids today?” or “Dang it. I let my kids watch T.V. all day again.” Let's face it, there are days like that, or even weeks like that, where you just get out of rhythm or simply need a break, and that's ok. I feel like it has taken a year for me to get back into the swing of things after having my fourth baby. Sometimes we can only do what can do. So I don't want this post to be overwhelming or place more mom guilt on you! Haha! I only hope to inspire each of us to do what we can in each of the different seasons of our lives. Sometimes we need to push the reset button and make time for the most important people - our kids.
There is a lot of responsibility that comes with being a mom, and developing trust and friendship with our kids is one them. I am not one of those moms that sits and plays with my kids all day long. I don’t think that is healthy for me or for them. However, I do think it is important to set aside meaningful time with our kids each day.
Meaningful time doesn’t have a set time. It doesn’t have to be a grand event, either. If your child is feeling loved, then you’ve achieved your goal. It could be reading them a book, doing a craft or teaching them something new. With older kids, it could be helping them with their homework or simply giving them your full attention when they tell you about their day. Whatever stage of life you are in with your family, I think these principles still apply and we can answer the question: “Have I done something meaningful with my kids today?”
Of course, meaningful time doesn’t always have to be planned. However, I like to have some time set aside to make sure that I’ve at least done something with them. Then everything else is a bonus! I try to plan an activity around 10:00 each morning with my little kids. Then when my older daughter gets home from school I try to plan something with her around 4:00. This set time each day helps me to remember my goal.
When thinking about planning activities, there are a couple questions that we really need to ask ourselves: “What do I want to teach my kids?”, “What are they interested in?”, “What are my talents?”, and “What can I teach them?”. Each of us has unique talents and gifts and we were given these children to share these talents with them. Using a list of answers to these questions think of a few things that you would like to do with your kids. You can include your kids by asking them what they would like to do with you. After brainstorming, pick the top things that you feel are the most important. Then decide which days you can do those activities.
Here’s an example:
Monday-Spanish or Arts & Crafts
Tuesday- National Geographic Day (Animals & Geography)
Thursday-Outing or Science Experiment
Friday- Music or Dance
Having each day be a different category is wonderful! Instead of feeling like I have to reinvent the wheel every week, I simply go back to my weekly categories that I have already set up. Then come up with a quick idea that would work for that day. I usually plan these activities during my Weekly Planning Session. (Check out the previous blog post) If you don’t have time to do your weekly planning session you at least have a quick reference of what you could do that day.
I would suggest buying a small "Days of the Week" dry erase board and writing out the activities that correlate with that day so you can remember what the categories are each day. I don't know how many times I have set up great goals of things I wanted to do with my kids but completely forget about them by the next day-mostly because they weren't somewhere I could see it! So make sure you do this step and put the calendar in your kitchen or a place that will help you remember.
If you have kids that can't read yet, cut out pictures magazines that represent those activities so the kids will know what activity is on which day. I was really surprised that my kids would get so excited about the activities and would ask me, “What are we doing for our craft day today?”
Tips on what to do on the specific days
Craft-Think of a craft related to the season.
National Geographic-You can watch a YouTube video on a specific animal or place and have the kids draw a picture on what they learned.
Service- Be inspired by the person the kids are going to serve. What do they need?
Outing- Find a group of moms to go to the zoo, museum, or park. Kids need to get out of the house just as much as we do.
Music & Dance- One of our favorite things to do is have dance parties. You could also look up some step by step dance videos for kids to learn some new moves.
Be inspired by the things around you - the time year, the interest of your kids, and things that make you happy to share with them. In my opinion, kids want to learn and do activities, but sometimes just need our help getting started. Also, activities for our kids don't have to be something grand or something some Super Mom posted on Pinterest. Keep it simple!
Good Luck! Start Planning!