Have you had those days when you feel like it’s 5:00 and then find out it’s only 10 in the morning? When you get in the car, look at your scowling teenager or crying baby, and think, “Is this living the dream?” When you just go through the motions and feel like life is going by without you? Lucky me, I have never experienced that. Those poor suckers. On those days, activities to enjoy with your child can rejuvenate you and save the day.
I have a 45 minute commute to work on a good day. Between traffic, my toddler crying, and getting my sleepy teenager out the door in time, I sometimes fly into work feeling like I have already done a half days work when the day is just beginning.
My days are long as well. It truly is referred to as the “primary care treadmill” for a reason. I’ll just leave that there. Traffic on the way home, figuring out dinner with a husband coming from another town, kids activities, homework, and baths. Wait, did I actually have a point here?
Oh yeah. After those LONG days, I find that the thing I want to do LEAST may actually be the BEST bet to turn it around. If I isolate (or whatever that really means with a toddler who follows me to the toilet and wants to sit on my lap), I just end the day frustrated and annoyed. If I choose to turn it around by consciously ENGAGING with my kids, these days can end up being a bonding experience. And who doesn’t want that?
5 EASY Activities to Enjoy With Your Child After a LONG Day at the Office:
- PIYO – that’s a mix of Pilates and Yoga. Ella, my 15-year-old daughter, and I have been doing this together (intermittently admittedly) for years. And, even better, we have the videos at home. She giggles at the maneuvers that I stink at and my complaining for days afterward about soreness. It really is great exercise, though. And a great way to be active together AT HOME where you can wear half of what you wore to work that day and no one, besides your husband, will mind.
- Take your little one on a walk – just a simple 15 minute walk will clear your head and make your toddler smile. I LOVE watching my one-year-old daughter, Eliza’s, little eyes dart around as she sees something new every time. My husband typically goes with me allowing us a little time to chat and catch up on our crazy days. Nothing better to clear your mind than heading outside.
- Make a puzzle while watching a favorite show – and I don’t mean Game of Thrones, people. I LOVE Game of Thrones but, despite what my teenage step-son says, it is not appropriate for kids. What is? We love The Voice. Kelly Clarkson ROCKS. Now that I am saying this, my husband and daughter are claiming that they don’t like it that much anymore. Figures. And having a little activity that your teenager likes, such as a puzzle, makes them WAY more likely to watch TV with you and chat about their day. Just don’t make the chatting too obvious.
- READ a book as a family – and make it one of those fabulous books YOU remember from your childhood. I read the whole Little House on the Prairie series to my little sister before bed when we were kids. Total life-long book nerd here. Other favorites: Junie B Jones, The Chronicles of Narnia, and James and the Giant Peach. Just remember this is about BONDING if you let your child read. It may require patience.
- Have a dance party – there is nothing better for bonding than watching my husband dance. He is SO bad. And the girls and I LOVE it. And there are few better ways to change the mood than great music. Do you remember the 90’s song “Love Will Save the Day”? I didn’t think so. We do. Ella and I use it as a theme song. We even have moves to it. Challenge what the future holds people.
BONUS (A little Outside the House):
Take a Drive – as long as your day doesn’t start like mine. Not relaxing then. Rolling down the windows, cranking up the volume, and screaming “Should Have Been a Cowboy” always worked for us growing up. Family favorite songs last for LIFE as great memories.
Simple Solution: The truth is that the wild years of working with kids in the home ARE fleeting. They will pass. And then we will want them back. Going against your natural response of isolation and bed at the end of a long day will help with bonding and capture special memories with your kids.
Kids having a rough day? Check out these activities for them: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/peaceful-parents-happy-kids/201610/5-ways-reconnect-your-child-when-having-bad-day
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