Today’s Mum in the hotseat, Amanda of Homely One, is a fellow mama-teacher-blogger with two small children. Her blog is filled with lovely creative projects (think cooking, crafting and decorating) and stories of family life, including adjusting to life with a new bub and a three year old…today Amanda shares her ideas for balancing playtime with children of different ages.
Since having our second daughter, something I think about a lot is how best to spend quality time with my big girl, Grace, how best to entertain her and how best to juggle this amongst the day to day running of a household and looking after six month old Sophie. It is only in more recent months that we’ve found a rhythm to our days that works for us and in doing so, I’ve come to the conclusion that playtime in our household runs best when it focuses on one word… balance.
The following points are what I aim to work towards in terms of balanced play time in our family. It is of course my ‘ideal’ list and things definitely don’t look like this all the time, however I try to keep these points in mind as we go about our days…
- Alternating outings and stay-at-home days – if we head to the park one morning, the following we’ll have an ‘at home day’ and do some baking or an art activity.
- Taking turns at ‘being the leader’ – sometimes I’ll choose an activity, other times Grace will make up the rules to a game and teach me how to join in her fun.
- Having one on one time and family time – Grace gets me to herself while her little sister naps in the mornings. Other times we all play together, sitting on the rug with an activity or having six month old Sophie sit in her high chair and watch on as we do an activity at the kitchen table.
- Playing indoors as well as outdoors – Grace would happily spend every minute of the day outdoors if I let her but as much as it’s important for her to run freely around the yard or exhaust some of the endless energy she has climbing on the play equipment at the park, focusing on simple activities like doing jigsaw puzzles or colouring in is important for her too.
- Involving my girls in quiet activities as well as noisier ones – we love putting on music and dancing around with bells and tambourines as well as curling up on the couch and reading books together.
- Having planned activities as well as spontaneous ones – some mornings we’ll go to dance class or to story time at the library. Other mornings we’ll pick something randomly out of our toy box to play with.
- Spending quality time with my children as well as encouraging independent play – as a stay at home Mum, every day, I aim to spend a decent block of time playing with my daughter in the morning and also in the afternoon. Some mornings we will stay home and do some baking or an art activity together while my little one is napping. Other mornings we’ll head out and about and go to the river to collect shells or for a play at a friend’s house. Similarly, in the afternoon we might stay home and blow bubbles in the backyard or water the vegetable garden together. However, Grace also knows there are times during the day when I have to do housework or tend to Sophie and during these times she will happily colour in, dress-up her dolls or sit down and do a puzzle by herself.
I have found that this balance works well for all of us. It suits my big girl who just wants me to ‘sit down and play’ as often as I can, as well as for my baby who needs routine and consistency. At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the balance that works best for you and your family.
When it comes to playtime in your household, what do you need to work on balancing?
I’m Amanda of Homely One – a former primary school teacher now a fulltime stay-at-home Mum to our two girls, Grace (3 years old) and Sophie (6 months). My days are filled with all things homely – cooking, crafting, decorating and of course, life with my two precious girls.