All parents are familiar with the stress of not managing to do everyhing they need to do. Children can keep you busy the whole day. I came to realise that my kids are simply not yet old enough to keep themselves busy and happy. They need me to actively entertain them. I know what all the parenting books say – that they should explore their creativity, that grownups should stop interfering in children’s play. Yet this is what they seem to need from me, and if I don’t deliver, I pay the price by listening to hours of nagging and fighting.
I probably sound like a horrible mom for complaining over the amazing privilege of spending time with my kids. It’s just that it doesn’t always seem to come natural to me, and I know many moms who feel the same. I run out of ideas. Plus I get anxious as I have other things that I would like to do, yet days pass without that happening.
I researched some DIY ideas that will also involve my children. The moment that I got started on this, I realised that it actually offers massive opportunity and value. Because not only do some things get done, but my children can feel part of the process, learn skills and responsibility, and burn some energy. They can also earn some pocket money for Christmas.
So without further ado, here are a few to-do ideas to keep your home running and your little ones entertained. You will obviously need to adapt these to keep them age-appropriate. Not sure if I should say good luck or enjoy! May the force be with you.
How to keep kids busy while getting things done
Car wash classics
What’s not to love about puddles of water and soapy sponges if you’re a child. It will take three times as long, but you’ll all get a workout and a clean car to show at the end of the afternoon.
Go to the garden
Rake some leaves, water the plants, pull out weeds and plant some seedlings. Everyone benefits from time spent outdoors.
Paint a wall
Don’t attempt too much for this one. Choose a focus wall rather than a whole room. How involved they are will depend on their age. Help may range from actual painting, to simply pulling of the strips of masking tape once everything is done. While writing this I remembered a favourite activity from my own childhood – a paintbrush and water to ‘paint’ the outside of the house. Or simply give them some water paint and paper to create their own artwork for the new wall.
This can be a challenging way to keep kids busy for many reasons (you’ll see it when you try it) and you may need some escape and evasion techniques for throwing away certain things. But children love discovering the long-forgotten toys and treasures that messy cupboards hold, so that will keep them busy. It’s also an opportunity for them to donate things to those less fortunate, which will grow empathy and gratitude.
There are various lists on the internet with age-appropriate tasks for children. Many children nowadays don’t learn how to work around the house, which will make things more difficult for them later in life. So let them wash dishes, wash windows and sweep the floor.
Sort art supplies
Most households have arts and crafts supplies all over the place. An older child can help to arrange these in colours and categories, and to throw away any dried up pens and glues. This is also an opportunity to sort artwork. Let them choose their favourity pieces to keep in an album, and (covertly) throw out the rest.
Refurbish old furniture
Find ideas of Pinterest and give an old piece of furniture new life. Your child will enjoy seeing how it comes to life.
Make gift cards
A hand-made gift card will mean a lot more to someone who loves your child than a store-bought version. And this will save you money as well, considering what cards cost.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Choose one or two projects to make your household more environmentally friendly. You can build an ecobrick, or simply let your children help to separate trash into categories where applicable.
I’m sure there are many more ideas on how to keep kids busy during the holiday, so leave a comment to inspire other readers. We hope this gets you thinking and help you to deal with boredom in the house.