Bethany, a Supermom of two, from Pleasant Grove, Utah, said:
My 2 and 4 year old attend preschool a couple days a week, but sometimes the days they are home seem to drag on forever. (Please tell me that I am not the only one who is sometimes at a loss of what to do with my kids all day?!?) I see ultra-creative blogs and think about how much money and time is put into all their fantastic activities and it makes me feel guilty/overwhelmed. Especially during the winter when we are cooped up inside.
For the past couple of months, I’ve been doing something I call “Mommy School.” Nothing complicated, expensive or time consuming. It certainly won’t win any awards for its awesomeness, but it makes me feel like I’m using the precious time I have with them wisely.
Here’s what I do: The night before, I write down a list of activities for the next day’s “school.” Some ideas are: coloring pages (with markers — something I don’t normally let them use); holiday appropriate crafts; playdough; Wiki Stix; iPod with educational games; dry penne noodles and yarn for threading; stamps; and always a workbook or two. I limit it to (A) things I have in the house or can easily print from the computer, and (B) 5 or 6 different activities. I don’t want the choices to be overwhelming.
The day of Mommy School, I put all of the options on the kitchen table and let the kids choose. They cannot choose the same activity at the same time. I turn on the kid songs, set a timer for 8 minutes, and let them at it. If a workbook is chosen, then I work with that child for the 8 minutes and if not, I’ll monitor both kids. When the timer dings, they must clean up and pick something new. I’ve found that 8 minutes is not too short but, more importantly, not too long. We usually go though enough rounds so that each kid does every activity. If they still seem interested after the first cycle, then we’ll keep going. I don’t push them and always gauge it by their moods that day. I enjoy the little conversations we have during their “school” time and have been able to fill in a couple of educational gaps for my soon-to-be kindergartner. It’s easy, it’s fun, and I’m cured of my guilt! Well, at least that part of my mom-guilt.
Hear more from Bethany on her blog.
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