Being a mother is all about bringing as much happiness to your child's life as you can. It's about creating shared memories between the two of you and just enjoying spending time with one another. At least in the hope that one day they'll return the favour when you're the one that needs looking after!
However, being a mom is also super demanding. You have to constantly come up with new ideas to keep your little darlings entertained. And really, after a year or two, you've pretty much exhausted your bucket list as a mother. Sometimes you just need a bit of inspiration to put the spring back in your step, so here's some of my favourite things to do with my kids. Hopefully, it gives you some ideas you can use to change things up!
Little monkey see, little monkey do
On the days that you're really busy, or even just feel like you need a bit of 'you-time,' let your child become a copycat. This is a really great way to spend time together while getting done the things that need to get done. If you're really itching to get through the last chapter of the book you're reading, let your child sit next to you with a book of their own. If I'm particularly overdue to write a blog post, I challenge my little monster to write a story of their own alongside me. As far as I'm concerned, this is much better than just dumping them in front of the TV and letting them fend for themselves.
If you're feeling crafty
In our house, we love arts and crafts so much that it's got its own section on this very blog! We love nothing more than getting our heads into a new 'project.' Whether that's as simple as painting a picture or even conducting experiments of our own! Getting creative is my favourite way of bringing my kids and I together, and it's a lot of fun to get messy. I think there are some super helpful benefits to it, too, like engaging your child's right brain.
Whether it's a picnic in the park or an hour or so on the swings, it's important that your child gets enough time outside. You want them to be active, so they grow up to be as big and strong as they can be. Good habits start early in this regard. If you live in an area without access to many fun outdoorsy type things for kids, make use of your garden! Buying a bunch of cool stuff that your kids will love, such as the Backyard Discovery Rocket Slide, will help them learn to love playing outside. If they're not yet at the age when they can go out exploring with their friends, then it's down to you to make sure they get plenty of fresh air and exercise.
See the sights
Kids are absolute sponges when it comes to absorbing new knowledge. Take advantage of that while you can. Take them to museums and galleries to learn all about new things. My kids love learning all about space and extinct animals. If there aren't any good museums near you, invest in some e-Learning discs on their preferred subjects. A lot of them come with really fun activities that allow them to make use of their newfound knowledge (quizzes etc.).
Have a movie night
Splurging money on the movie theater is getting more expensive every year, it seems. Instead of paying premium prices, host your own movie night. Let your kids pick their favourite film and get yourself geared up for it. Make some popcorn together (so much fun!) then get settled down for the night. We often like to surround ourselves with pillows and blankets to really heighten the comfort. That means they're already settled if bedtime rolls around too.
Take up gardening
That flower bed you have outside isn't going to tend to itself! Some of my favourite childhood memories included basic gardening at school. By getting your kids involved, you can recruit them as your little helpers while teaching them new things! My kids love having their own little patch to take care of with digging and watering. You'll be surprised by how much pride they take in their work!
Let them help in the kitchen
Find me one woman that doesn't love getting her hands dirty in the kitchen! We all love baking and cooking, but sometimes we could use a helping hand or two. When it comes to the relatively simple (and safe) jobs, I enlist my two little helpers. This can include anything from washing vegetables to whisking the cake mix! It should go without saying to leave any of the dangerous jobs to yourself and keep them out of the way of hot pans, knives, etc. Sometimes, we even set aside entire afternoons dedicated to baking cookies. Kids love to please their parents, so let them help out where they can!
Let them take the initiative
Of course, there will always be times that you just need to be left alone to get on with things around the house. When those times come, you don't want to just leave them playing in their rooms or binge-watching television. When you need to get them out of your hair for a while, think outside the box. One of my go-to ideas for these situations is to create little treasure hunts for them around the house. By doing this, you're teaching them to think independently but you're also taking part in a way. Buy them a present (it doesn't need to be expensive) and hide it somewhere in the house. Come up with a series of clues that they will have to solve that eventually leads them to the 'treasure!' This will teach them about the reward system and sets them up for 'earning' their treats later in life.
There you have it. Hopefully, this has given you some ideas that you can use next time you find yourself wondering how to make use of your time together!