Welcome to the November 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Indoor Play
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared ideas and inspiration to keep families happy and healthy while cooped up indoors.
Is Indoor Fun All About the Activities?
There are an abundance of indoor fun activities for all ages, but sometimes all the planning in the world seems to go haywire. We try so hard to be super parents by encouraging our children to learn, explore, and try new things. But some days, even with careful planning, just the right formula for a good day seems hard to come by.
Do you sometimes find that despite your great intentions in planning indoor fun that you feel stressed or the kids seem out of sorts? Do you begin to wonder why those fun activities aren’t working to create happy faces and prevent upsets ? Then it comes to you that fun times aren’t only about what you and your kids “do” but how you interact as you play away the day.
Four Parenting Tips for Indoor Fun that
Forestall Daytime Upsets
1. Don’t over plan. Kids ages 2-6 can enjoy only about two planned activities in an afternoon. Just one can suffice. Even the 7-10 crowd does best with focusing on one. Pleasure turns to overstimulation quickly when tiredness and hunger for snacks set in.
2. Vary activities. If one activity is full of physical activity, follow it with some calming down fun. After building a pillow fort, reading is a good choice that settles the mind and calms the body.
3. Think ahead with your kids. The day before a Saturday afternoon, discuss with your kids what they might like to do. Kids like to feel part of the plan.
4. Make planning an activity unto itself! Make a list together of what you need. Then gather together what’s on the list to bake those cookies, create that art project, or plan the indoor scavenger hunt.
When the Best Laid Plans Seem to Fall Apart—-Listen, Listen, Listen
• When a Transition is Needed
Sometimes indoor fun starts to drain everybody after a while if there’s no break out of doors. Even if it’s cold, it’s often better to take a run around the yard all bundled up or take a brisk walk down some city streets with hoods up and strollers in gear to get a change of pace.
• When Kids Say They’re Bored
The best way to know how to pace an activity is to listen to kids’ comments about what they’re doing or watch their facial expressions and hear their voice tones. I’ve noticed that sometimes kids say they are “bored” when actually they’re spent. They’ve been revved up and now need to slow down their motors.
• When Kids Complain
When kids complain after you’ve worked so hard to prepare for their fun, it can feel like they’re ungrateful. But it’s best not to take their remarks personally, but recognize when they need to shift gears. When we listen carefully, we hear they did have fun and are pleased with what they did, but now they’ve left that moment and are ready to recharge. Sometimes they insist on something new just when they need to wind down.
• How to Calm Things Down
The best way to calm kids down is to calm ourselves down first. Speaking in a quiet, slow voice in contrast to their high pitches seems to turn things around. When you let them know you had a great day and are proud of them, things often settle everyone down.
Congestion Be Gone Shower Vapor Discs — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares a fun way to beat the indoor blues while creating something useful at the same time! Come learn how Jennifer and her daughter created congestion relief discs so you too can get creative in the kitchen. It makes a fun science experiment too!
- Indoor Fun: Dads and Moms Who Listen Prevent Cabin Fever — Laurie Hollman Ph.D. at Parental Intelligence reminds us that even with all the best planning for indoor fun, it’s helpful to have creative tips that that forestall daytime upsets and build parent-child bonds.
- Outside? What’s that?: 13 Boredom Busters for 13 Weeks of Winter — Joining us from rural Ontario, where she is no stranger to massive amounts of snow and frigid temperatures, Leslie at Eat Your Peas shares 13 Boredom Busters to get you through the 13 weeks of winter.
- Where to get the wiggles out in bad weather — Lauren at Hobo Mama offers indoor places to escape to when kids need to run and shout away from the rain and snow.
- 12 Ways to Entertain a Toddler on a Rainy Day — Holly at Leaves of Lavender presents a list of simple ways to keep a toddler busy when stuck at home on a rainy day.
- Pencil, paper… bright ideas! — Marija Smits shares some ideas on how to make family ‘art and craft time’ inexpensive and fun.
- 6 Ideas for Sibling Fun Indoors — Kati at The Best Things shares kid-initiated activities that involve action, adventure, and some roughhousing. Perfect for busting up cabin fever! Plus a few extras invented with a little help from Mom-O.
- The great indoors — Charlie at Peeling Clementines divulges ways she entertains her chaotic little one indoors, from yoga to arts and crafts.
- Family Zentangle Fun: Tutorials and Activity Ideas to Get You Started — Zentangle is the perfect marriage of mediation and art, and it can be fun and relaxing for the whole family. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares resources to help you start doodling.
- Cabin Fever Plan of Attack — Momma Jorje offers some low-key plans for days that she and her littles are stuck inside.