Friday, January 05, 2018

10 Ways to Happy Up a Houseful of Littles

Sometimes you just are all having a rough day.  Maybe people aren't feeling well, maybe mama has a headache, maybe it's just a grey drizzly day and little bodies can't go work off energy outside.

Generally I can't think of anything when we're all in the middle of the crankies, so here is a list for me (and you, if it's helpful!) of things to try to shake the sads and bring back the smiles for mama and her small fry.

1. Bubble bath!  Break out the rubber duckies and enoy the soothing warm water.  Take some plastic containers for pouring and floating. (Bonus: if your kids really enjoy the water, you can recharge it several times to keep it warm and supervise with a cup of tea and a book!)

2. Snacktime!  A little something for the tummy usually cheers everyone up.  It's even better if it's something special - not that special has to be hard!  My kids were delighted when I pulled out a can of mixed fruit leftover from a trip and announced we were having "special fruit!" with lunch for Valentine's Day.

3.  Music!  Preferably silly and a little bit loud.  If you're totally lost, start here.

4. Art! It can feel very overwhelming to prep and supervise and clean up a big project...but some plain white paper and watercolors are fairly low mess and low prep. And sometimes setting that up at the kitchen table means you can prep veggies, wash a few dishes, or sit and sip some tea while the artists work. Add some music and pat yourself on the back for creating such an enriching environment.

5. If you're not sick and are up to a drive, head out and take advantage of your library children's area.

6.  Or read a book together at home, snuggled up with a quilt if possible.  Our current favorites are Fritz and the Beautiful Horses, Julia's Home for Lost Creatures, and any and all Jan Brett books from the library.

7.  Engage them in a task you normally do alone.  For example, I usually whipped laundry through by myself when all my kids were small (now my 9yo starts the washer half the time!), but they LOVED being asked to push the laundry basket from the washer to the dryer and put the laundry in the dryer.  They especially loved being lifted up to turn it on! :)  They also enjoyed helping out with dishes,  while standing in our helping tower, although to be honest that was not always a smooth process. On the plus side, the floor probably needed mopped anyway, right?

8. Make a blanket fort!  A flat sheet, a few pillows and stuffed animals inside, and a book make for a cozy reading or playing nook.  (Expect to have to put it back up multiple times, though!)

9. Go outside! Even if it's chilly, if you can handle bundling up and running outside for a few minutes, the fresh air can really boost everyone's moods. Maybe send everyone in the backyard to find a leaf, a rock, or a flower, depending on the season.

10. When all else fails? Turn on a calming, cozy show and curl up together. "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" on Amazon Prime or "The Gruffalo" on Netflix are both lovely winter choices! Popcorn and hot tea for mama is an extra fun way to jazz up an afternoon movie time too.

Enjoy! And have a great day today!

What are your go to ways to brighten up a blah day?