It’s easy to feel like we need to find something for our kids to do while we attempt to accomplish a task, an errand, or even a load of laundry. The truth is, it’s rather easy to incorporate our kids into these activities -- we simply need to include them rather than exclude them. They love being a part of our ‘grown up’ activities, so their willingness to work with you rather than against you will also be in your favor. Here are five ways to do just that.
1. Grocery Shopping
This errand can feel like a mountain to climb when you have to have at it while toting your children with you. But it doesn’t have to be. Why not make out small lists for them according to the aisles. For instance, if your little children know their colors, have them pick out a box with a red circle on it, or find a bag with a yellow square. They’ll feel super special and you’ll be able to have them in eye shot while you tend to your grocery list.
2. House Work
It may seem like no mother can keep a clean house while kids are constantly tearing it up, but you can. And it will be so much easier to have the kids help rather than whine about having to pick up their messes. If your kids are not at the age where you trust them with a bottle of Windex, then buy a cheap spray bottle and fill it with water and ask them to help you ‘clean’ the kitchen table, or the bathroom sink, even the shower. Not only will they be near for you to keep them safe, but they’ll feel like a big kid as well.
Yeah, I know. You’re thinking ‘you’re crazy’. No, I’m not. Your kiddies can help you out in the kitchen very easily and they’ll adore it too. Think mess-free foods like dried beans and Cheerios-- give your children a handful or so along with a plastic measuring cup or small bowl and tell them to ‘measure out’ ten beans. Not only will it divert their attention for a few minutes each time you give them a new direction, but they’ll be learning how to count, measure, and clean up after themselves -- all while leaving you tending to dinner with your kids in eye shot. Win-win for mom, kids, and dinner.
4. Yard Work
This can get messy, so be sure everyone’s in play clothes. If you’re weeding, have your kids weed next to you. Or give them a bucket with soil and have them ‘plant’ the weeds you pull out. Your local superstores also sell kid-sized gardening tools, wagons, and wheelbarrows, so grab a set or two and have the kids help you rake the yard and till the garden.
Forget the gym, head outside with the kids so everyone can get their fitness on. If you’re a runner, slow it down a bit while your children ride their bikes alongside of you. Need to squeeze in some strength training? No problem, while you do some curls with the weights your kids can do the same with their stuffed animals or blocks. Even Yoga is easy to incorporate into the mix. Your children can try their hand at whatever pose you want to get into simply by asking them to mimic what you’re doing with your body.
The key to melding your chores with your kids is to make it a fun family event. Work with your kids instead of against them to get what you need to get done.