Every time I look at the forecast, I die a little inside this week. Did we suddenly move to Venus? Is Mother Nature going through the change and suddenly having hot flashes? What is going on here?
Last week, Noah was floating by. This week we are baking cookies in the car and frying eggs on the sidewalk (and don’t think I won’t try both later this week!)
I HATE heat. I don’t like being uncomfortable, but I also just don’t like making my kids play inside when they have energy to burn.
Luckily, there are more options than non-stop screen time. Even now my kids are busy building with Legos and listening to music in the playroom because it’s so humid and hot at 8am they don’t want to be outside today. That’ll change later when we head to the splash pad, but they don’t know that detail yet lol.
When we can, we encourage this kind of play. They are building their imagination, working on their motor skills, learning to share and not be jerks to each other, and honestly I feel like we have less behavioral issues from the kids the less they stare into a TV or play on their Kindle Fire.
Is there a time for those things, sure. We block out a couple of hours after lunch each day for them to get to play on their tablets and/or watch a movie. Typically this is the time that smaller children (when we have them) nap and it’s always when my wife takes a nap when she is home/can.
But what about the rest of the day? How do you entertain children from breakfast until bedtime?
Here’s what I do.
First and foremost, we have a set list of chores each day. The kids know that they will have certain things to do through the day to help around the house. This could be as simple as putting their dishes in the dishwasher after a meal and cleaning up after themselves, or as complex as helping clean the house. This is something we do no matter what the weather is like. It’s a part of our daily routine and helps our kids take pride in their home, learn responsibility, and lightens the load of what I need to get done each day.
Some chores, like making the bed, dishes, picking up toys before meals are shared by everyone all the time. Others, like feeding the dogs, helping in the kitchen, wiping the table, etc, are rotated since having two-to-six kids trying to do that one thing at the same time would be a nightmare. Plus in the case of where they are helping cook or clean, this gives us some one-on-one time with the kids as we do our daily tasks.
I try to make a list of activities each week with my kids. Something we can do each day to get out of the house and/or break the routine in the house to have a little fun. Sometimes this is simply cranking up the music and dancing silly with the kids when they need to release energy. Other’s are a little more thought out.
One of my ways of doing that is by going to the National Day of Calendar and finding something for each day to have fun with. You’ve seen my posts recently on this subject and I plan to continue those through the summer months at least.
I also try to theme my days when I can. Wet and Wild Wednesdays, Take it to the Park Tuesdays, Shopping Saturday. This is partly because my Autistic son does better when there’s a routine and he knows what to expect and partly because I’m getting old and it’s easier to remember!
Don’t be Afraid of Messes
Sometimes you just have to roll with it. If they’ve been stuck inside for four days and you try to keep certain activities outdoors. Figure out how to compromise.
For instance, I try to keep painting activities outside so I can just wash the mess away with the garden hose once we’re done. When it’s 109 degrees though, that’s no feasible. Instead I buy and put down painters plastic, roll butcher on the table and we paint. It’s not 100% effective in keeping the mess out of the house, but it does save some cleanup when it’s all said and done!
When kids are involved, nothing will be perfect and mess free. Honestly I know many adults that way too, self included. Extreme heat means we have to relax just a bit and roll with the inferno! The memories you make doing so will be far more precious than anything you get from holding rigid to the norm.