This post has been inspired by the miserable start to my week this week. I’ve had a nasty bout of mastitis which would have left me bed-bound had I not had two young toddlers to look after. It came on on Saturday night and I spent all of Sunday a shivering wreck on the sofa. As usual, my busy brain and itchy feet wouldn’t let me sit still and as soon as I felt moderately better on Monday morning we charged off out for the day. I crashed and burned mid-afternoon and came home and plonked the girls in front of the tv. Seeing as I can count the number of times they have watched television in their lives on one hand, you can tell this was quite a bad illness!
I’m feeling better now but I have been doing a bit of reflecting. In general I think getting out and about with kids is the best way to live. I want to inspire in my children a sense of get up and go, curiosity of the world, and a sense of adventure and fun in the everyday. However, sometimes, just sometimes, going out can have the opposite effect, leaving us all frazzled, frustrated, tired and fed up. So here’s when I think it does us all good to stay at home (reading books and playing not watching tv – haha!):
- When one or all of us is ill. Going out can make us feel much worse. The exception to this is teething, when distraction and a change of scene works as good or better than a dose of calpol!
- During the fussy phase of a ‘leap’. I’m a big fan of the book The Wonder Weeks www.thewonderweeks.com, which describes the huge leaps in a baby’s cognitive development, and understandably makes them very fussy and clingy for a couple of weeks when it first happens. I find it easier all round to be in familiar surroundings for the first few days when this happens.
- If I’m feeling particularly sleep deprived. On the one hand fresh air, daylight and natural surroundings often really really help me feel better, but sometimes it’s all just too exhausting to dress the girls, pack the change bag and food, and get the pram into the car and all out at the other end!
- If it’s really boiling hot. Like this weeks’ heatwave, sometimes it’s too stressful chasing round little toddlers to get them sun-creamed up, put their hats back on a million times and get them to drink gallons of water. Keeping them in the shade? Great for babies but not an option for toddlers who have newly found their feet and freedom!! They have as much an adventure in their paddling pool with a big umbrella and I get to do a bit of sunbathing.. Happy days!
So my lesson learned this week? Sometimes it’s ok to just stay at home and make adventures happen here, and I’ve got a few ideas of what to do when you’re at home with toddlers with boundless energy:
- Make a den – endless hours of fun and with any luck they’ll fall asleep in there (yeah right)
- Messy play or water play – pots, pans, cups, sieves and a wash basin all make great water toys, and messy play with sand, pebbles (choke hazard so monitor carefully!), mud and sticks is literally priceless fun.
- Chasing bees and butterflies around the garden (as long as they don’t grab them)
- Picking flowers
- Teddy bears picnic
- Making music
There’s enough there for at least two days of home adventures! Happy adventuring!