Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Day Off With the Kids

By Christina VanGinkel

With parents today, being stretched this way and that, jobs on one end, children on the other, and spouses, families, volunteer work, social activities and more stretching them in every other possible direction; it is easy to become overwhelmed. You may start questioning yourself on why you ever wanted kids in the first place, and start to wonder what you have gotten yourself into. Those that are usually on the losing end are the parents themselves and their immediate family members, especially the children, when a mood such as this strikes. The easiest way to bring at least a temporary halt to the madness is to call a time out! Grab your kids (They are the most willing participants in such a display of thumbing one's nose at the normal goings on of a typical day as you will ever find, so they are also the quickest way to remind yourself exactly why you did choose to have them!) and have a day of doing whatever it is that you want to do. If you honestly cannot spare a whole day, then take an hour or two, as that is better than no time at all! There are no rules to follow is this bit of organized madness, except to keep it simple.

If it is winter, bundle up, head outside, and make a snowman or snow angels, have a snowball toss, go sledding, lay on your backs and look at the stars if its evening! If it is summer, grab your gear and head to the lake, swim, fish, take a hike, have a picnic. If you are protesting that you are not the outdoor type then pull out some board games, dust them off and play a few rounds. If no board games exist in your house, then play tic-tac-toe, I Spy, or some other simple game. Grab a pack of colored pencils or have your kids go get their crayons and color. There is nothing like coloring with a child to get you mind back to normal, to relax, to help you remember exactly why it was you wanted these children in the first place!

Alternatively, choose to do something you would normally not have the time to do such as head to a museum, go to lunch at a fancy restaurant, or grab a book and take the kids to the park. Let them run around and burn off energy while you take no notice other than to be sure they are safe, then read a book or magazine, though nothing that requires you to think too much. Remember the one rule and keep it simple!

Some other ideas, if all you do is draw blanks (which is normal when stressed and overworked!):

Blow bubbles
Read a book together
Run under the sprinkler
Build a mud castle
Pick some rocks and paint on them
Pick some wild flowers and bring them to a shut in
Do a craft together
Have a tea party
Bake cookies, (the pre-made ones, remembering to keep it simple!)
Sit and watch the clouds go by

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