Late fall and winter often brings bad weather. For us, its rain. For others its snow or wind or extreme temperatures. I know that being inside for long periods of time can bring out the crazy mama in me and before long we are climbing the walls. Can you relate?
So what’s a Mama to do? Here are three common mistakes parents make (I’m just as guilty as any other mom) and some ideas on embracing the rainy day blues.
Mistake #1: Attacking the day with no plan.
I have one child who loves to play by himself. He will go to his room and happily occupy himself for hours on end. He’s been doing this since he was a baby. My other son constantly needs attention and when he doesn’t get it in appropriate ways, he seeks it out in any way, shape or form he can get it. Today is was yelling “mom” for five minutes over and over and over again after I told him I needed to blow-dry my hair before playing Legos with him. There was no plan to our day and with no plan there was no expectations of when their would be together time and when their would be on your own time.
Solution: Get everyone involved in making a plan.
So as you know from last weeks post, I don’t operate well with a schedule. However, our rainy days need a rhythm to them that offers predictability and stability for my children so that they know what is expected and how the day is going to work. Breakfast is a great time to establish the rhythm of the day. Here are some fun ideas to help bring fun to the rhythm.
- Rainy day fun jar: Work together to come up with some fun activities to do on a rainy day. The big part of this is work together on it. Hey, coming up with the ideas could be your first rainy day activity. Put your ideas in a jar and then when you need something new and fun to do, draw out one of your ideas.
- Embrace the boredom: At the beginning of summer I wrote this post on embracing the gift of boredom. Remember that boredom is not bad. It is a chance for brains to grow if we choose to embrace it rather than make it go away by filling the time. Children need hours of self-directed play. It is an important part of developing their inner self.
Mistake #2: Getting caught up in our own “to-do” list
This is an easy one for all of us. Often my “to-do” list seems endless. As soon as I finish laundry, there is more to be done. I no sooner get breakfast dishes washed then someone is hungry for lunch and with lunch comes more dishes and now the dishwasher’s full which means it will need to be run and emptied. Ugg…and that’s just the “normal” stuff. Then there is work and homework, errands, and …sound familiar?
Solution: Get your kids on your team to tackle the “to-do list” and accomplishing the the necessary and having time to play!
Here is something I’m learning how to put into practice in my own home. I want my kids to be part of our family team. Part of that means pitching in so that the “to-do” list doesn’t overwhelm one person. In our home there are no chore-charts. If you want to find out why, you can read here. Rather, we work together as a team. Like I said, this is a work in progress and one of the hardest parts for me is letting go of the expectations I have for a job being done “perfectly” and in “my time frame.”
Second part of this is evaluating the “to-do” list. What is important and what do I need to let go? If something is important, how much time will I dedicate to that and how will I hold myself accountable to maximizing my time rather than wasting it away with time suckers like Facebook and Pinterest!
Mistake #3: Using the TV or video games to get kids out of our hair.
Television and video seem like easy fixes for the rainy day blues. You push a button and instant entertainment provides the peace and quiet we crave. Gone is the whining, fighting, button pushing, and constant “when can I…?” But constant TV and video game use has harmful effects on our kids growth and development.
Solution: Establish a family rhythm of healthy television and video game habits.
Here are some things we do in our family to help us establish healthy habits. Rather than watching shows on a network, we watch them on Netflix. Its much easier to stop after two episodes of Star Wars: Clone Wars and there are no commercials, which I love for a multitude of reasons.
When it comes to computer time, we use a timer on the computer as a reminder. Kids set it and when their time is done, it flashes a message across the screen. I use language that reminds my kids that the timer is a tool that helps us keep track of our time so the computer doesn’t suck it up. I’m actually feeling convicted of this myself as I type this sentence! Maybe I’ll have to start using one myself!
One more thing, some days will go just as you dream. Your kids will play happily and quietly. You will have a healthy balance of getting stuff done and playing together. Other days won’t. Remember to give yourself grace and remember that tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully some of these ideas will help you reset after those days and get you back on track but if you would like more help, let me know. I’d be happy totalk with you and help you build the groundwork for your family’s life to thrive.