It had been raining for a week and the kids were going a wee bit crazy. Arguments and bickering were on the rise, with mom and dad's patience on the decline.
One particular Sunday afternoon I found myself with two distinct choices:
1. Completely lose my cool, ground the kids to their rooms for the rest of the day even though we'd just barely finished lunch, and spend the rest of the afternoon feeling guilty for losing said cool.
2. Come up with some creative way to counter the problem.
Friends, I'm ashamed to say that most days, I tend to default to option number 1. Oh, I want to be that mom with all the really cool ideas for keeping the peace in our home and our children happy and well rounded, but those moments come few and far between.
However on this particular Sunday, I whispered a desperate prayer that went something like this:
Dear God, please help me not kill my kids.
Suddenly, an idea popped into my head. The main thing our kiddos had been struggling with was being bossy with one another, and throwing fits when things didn't go their own way. From out of nowhere (of course, we know the where....or I should say who) I had the idea for a project.
I called the kids into the room and said that I had a very important project for them to work on. However, if this project was going to work, they had to all work together with no one person being the boss, and they had to listen to one another. Here is the project:
I need the three of you to work together to decide which of your bedrooms to use, and then come up with a plan to build a blanket fort big enough for the three of you to all sleep in tonight.
Friends, their eyes got as big as saucers and grins spread across their faces as they realized that I was, indeed, serious. Mad chaos ensued as they dashed about collecting every available blanket in the house. I surprised them by providing sheets from the closet and even a tablecloth from my special stash.
Of course, they did need some guidance and a little bit of refereeing during the process, but they took a big step towards learning how to work together with others who have differing ideas from theirs, and who might have stronger or quieter personalities to their own.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret, gals: It was really hard for me not to engineer and design the entire fort. I did provide some direction and ideas when they got stuck, but for the most part I sat back and let them work. And you know what? They did!
Summer's coming, friends, and we will soon have some kiddos with too much time on their hands - and for many of us, too many technological options on which to rely. We live in an apartment in the middle of a large European city. There's no green space nearby for us to just send the kids to "go out and play" or "have a water balloon fight." It is up to me to help them see creative options for when tension run high and their own creative juices run low.
Maybe you don't have space enough for a blanket fort, but you do have a million pounds of craft supplies for all those homemade projects you've pinned...but will never do. Give the kids a theme and a time frame and let them create.
Set up a dance party in the kitchen.
Or some water games in the bathroom.
There is for sure a time and place for redirecting, correcting, and disciplining. However, I'm finding most of the time all my kids need are a couple of ideas and permission to create.
If you're like me, you only have these genius ideas maybe once a year. Let's help one another with this, too! Leave some of your out-of-the-blue-curb-the-chaos boredom busters in the comments! Then we can all have a working list of ideas to pull from when our own creative juices are lacking!!
In order to help get the creative juices flowing, I am excited to offer you a FREE song download perfect for a Blanket Fort Dance Party! Simply follow the link, click "buy now" and in the price area enter 0.00. If you like the song, perhaps come back and buy the rest of the Playtime album - it's only $5! There are no affiliate links, but I always love to take the chance to support independent artists!
Love, blessings and dance parties,