If you’re a parent or often find yourself in-charge of nieces, nephews, god children or grand-kids you’ll know that the joy of watching their first steps is soon the exhaustion of trying to stop the little things from going that one step too far. Then, the daily task of finding ways to tire kids out can prove more tiring for you than for them.
Here’s a few top tips to tire out the tots, or at least keep them occupied so they don’t tire you out:
1, In the Home –
I’ve heard it a hundred times: you can’t get anything done with the kids about. This doesn’t have to be the case.
Young tots (under four years old)
Involving the children in household tasks can actually save time…and tantrums. Thus, if you need to hover, involve younger children. One idea as to how is to invest in a bag of ‘ball pool balls’. Spill the balls about the room or area you’re hovering, the balls are too big to hover up, child safe, big enough to find easily (hence, mess free), and fun, colourful things to hunt for. Ask your tot to help you by finding them all and putting them back in their bag. For each ball your tot puts back give a simple ‘yay! Well done!’ or clap if your tot looks to your for a reaction.
Older kids (four plus)
Older children may raise an eyebrow instead of a smile at the thought of collecting ball pool balls. Instead, speak to them on their level. They’re children, not aliens; explain what you need to do and why.
If they are not happy to play alone for any length of time, what I used to fall back on was something like, ‘I need to hoover. I hate hoovering, as you know. So please would you take your crayons / building blocks and make me something and when I’ve finished you can cheer me up?’
Children old enough to not fall for this tip, in my books, are old enough to get washing up. Mention that to them. Most kids, in my experience prefer drawing to cleaning!
Alternatively, for more ‘at home’ activity ideas, try the Stay at Home Mom Survival Guide.
2. Days Out –
If you live in England then taking the kids out, even in summer, can mean bringing them back drenched, windswept, frost bitten and often covered in mud, rain or goose bumps. Consequently, when I cared for my friend’s children, I regularly took them to in-door play groups and play sessions.
Nowadays, soft play centres, such as Snakes and Slides which is a play centre in Bury, have conveniently popped up in most towns. Unlike the old (and often cold), make-shift church halls, soft play centres provide children with somewhere (indoors) where they can run, jump, rolly-polly and otherwise whizz and hop about without being told to mind that lamp , calm down or that the dog isn’t a climbing frame.
What’s more, while the kids are racing about and interacting with other kids, us oldies can grab a coffee in comfort and warmth. The space and facilities most play centres offer too, being relatively modern, are often first-rate. Without meaning to sound like a grumpy oldie, this means that I can sit and enjoy watching the kids play and explore uninterrupted. While I’m not averse to a good old chat with other parents and the likes, sometimes it’s just lovely to watch the kids hop and pop about, knowing they’re warm, safe and not going to break my favourite vase!