Creating Calm with Kids

Today I needed a calm day. I realise that the idea of calm is incongruous with having kids, but I decided that I would try to balance the day out with activities for my kids and activities for me, to get the closest feeling to calm that I could. The last few days have been exhausting. My daughter had to get her bandage changed on her broken finger in hospital and the next morning, it fell off and the doctor refused to see her, so we had to go back to the hospital. On top of that, my other daughter came down with a vomiting bug the night before, and none of us had had any sleep. After days like that, I need to retreat and go into hibernation mode when they are over. I knew my daughter would be off school today – she’s at the stage where she is back to her normal self, but too contagious to be allowed to go in. So, we did some simple art projects and baked.

First, the girls painted pasta tubes. We left them to dry so they can thread them onto necklaces later. You can also use PVA glue as a varnish to put on top of the paint. It stretches out the pasta necklaces activity for longer. For boys that don’t want to make necklaces, you could make pasta snakes instead and thread them on pipe cleaners.
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Then, we made dried food collages. Sometimes if we don’t have card, I cut up old cereal boxes and they use them instead. It works better than paper for gluing solid items. I just set out plates with dry beans, lentils, rice, seeds, oats, etc. You get the kids to draw a large picture and then fill in the different parts of it with whatever they like. You can also do this with cut-up coloured paper, fabric remnants or string painted with a mixture of glue and paint. This activity took more than an hour and the girls didn’t get bored with it – which is rare for them ๐Ÿ™‚ A word of warning – the clean up took a while, but it was less painful than I’d expected it to be.
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The girls watched a film for a while and I got an opportunity to have a cup of tea and write. I think it’s important to squeeze in time for your own things when you’re with kids all day. If you never get time to yourself, it’s easy to get snappy!

We made some easy shortbread. It was just three ingredients and we tried some new cookie cutters we hadn’t used before. They have cut out parts so you can balance them on the rim of a teacup. I made some babyccinos and a vanilla latte for myself and then allowed TV time again so I could drink it and write uninterrupted. It reenergises me, so when I do something else with my kids I’m able to focus more on them. Jazz helped us survive the day in the house too. I’m convinced that it cuts down on the number of squabbles over toys and creates a calmer atmosphere.

It can be hard to treat yourself as a stay at home mum, but I think the things that work best for me are taking time out in the kitchen, listening to music, lighting scented candles and wax melts, making coffee-shop style coffee, squeezing in short times to write, read or draw. You can colour alongside your kids too if you get an adult colouring book. I like using the kids as an excuse to bake too so I have freshly-baked treats ๐Ÿ™‚ There is a youtuber I like watching called “Coffee with Kate.” She makes videos about her simple lifestyle and the creative things she does. My daughter likes watching it too, because she does cooking videos and has two children. Finding something you like to watch that your kids enjoy too is a good way to attend to your need for a break while they’re awake ๐Ÿ™‚ At the moment, our house is a dump, and I’m just letting it go, because being with my kids and sitting drinking coffee in the midst of the mess are more important today.

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Things to do on a Screen Free Day

Things To Do On A Screen Free Day

I hate having too much screen-time. It leaves you feeling unhealthy afnd drained. I think it interferes with what could have been a productive day. I’ve been seriously limiting my screen usage recently and in the spirit of that, I decided to compile a list of alternatives to using a screen:

Nature

Go for a long walk and leave your phone at home. You will realise how much more you notice the things around you when a phone isn’t absorbing your attention.

Go to a park, forest or beach and appreciate nature without interruptions. Collect items as little souvenirs. Draw pictures of them.

Paint a picture, outdoors.

Have a picnic under a tree with friends. Each bring an item to make it simple.

Have a hot drink on a bench, watching the sea and think.

Exploration

Find a car boot sale. Sell your own items or look for new interesting ones.

Go window shopping for books. Get ideas for your reading list. Read the blurb and see if you find something new. Buy them more cheaply online or look out for them second hand.

Go on a train journey, get off at the last stop and see what is there. Take pictures.

Go to an open farm and spend a quiet afternoon with animals. It helps to slow down your mind.

Culture

Go to a museum and take real time to read about the exhibits.

Listen to a podcast. Note down ideas you get from it.

Listen to music and read about it while you listen. You might find something new you like and learn some interesting facts about the band.

Go to the cinema and watch an international film with subtitles.

Read a newspaper, on paper, in peace in the library. Theyย also have coffee mornings where you can do this and get free coffee ๐Ÿ™‚

Imagination

Make your own flower arrangement with various cheap bouquets of flowers or flowers you find outside.

Lie on your bed and daydream like when you were a kid.

Try making home-made ice lollies. Freeze fruit inside ice cubes to make them pretty. Treat yourself to a fancy drink.

Research your family tree or record stories about relatives for future generations to read. Make photo albums and scrapbooks.

Draw out a design of your perfect room and then work towards making it look like the picture.

Make presents for people you know. Make up baskets with personal notes and items in them to cheer them up.

Create a new space out of an unused corner in your home. You could add in a mini office, a crafts’ corner, a coffee corner, a place for yoga, etc.

Collect shells on a beach and made a seaside display to remind you of summer holidays.

 

I hope this gives you some ideas of more valuable ways to spend time and relax. How do you like to spend your screen-free time?