I don’t know about you but my kids are always with me. Literally, always. My husband is home on the weekends and that’s it. Monday through Thursday it’s just the girls and me. Anything that I need to get done I have to do with both kids.
While to I recommend letting your kids be more involved in the housekeeping routine I realize there are times when you just need to get something done in a hurry. Maybe your mom is stopping by to pick up one of the kids or the cable guy has to come in to fix something. No matter what the situation, I’m sure you occasionally need to get the house picked up NOW. So here are a few low mess, low stress activities for kids to do while you clean.
Activities for kids
Duh. TV, ipad, games whatever. No, I don’t like my kids being plugged in on a regular. BUT for the sake of moms sanity its OKAY on occasion. You know what I love about electronics? They don’t add to the mess. I can park my kids for an hour, because seriously your housekeeping shouldn’t take longer than that, and that’s it. No puzzle pieces to find, no Barbie shoes to put on. Just pure peace to run around and get it done!
So seriously this is my favorite. We buy jumbo craft sets when we find them on sale and stash them in the top of my office closet. The kids also got a ton of these type of things for their birthdays this year. The girls only get to use them on special occasions and whenever I bring them out it’s a treat.
Special craft sets? Some of them are themed sets, like a big box of Nemo coloring books, with Nemo stickers and Nemo paints. Another set was sticky craft sheets that came with different themed material to stick on it, like buttons and shredded paper.
My kids know the rules for these sets. If you get down from your chair, playtime is over and the crafts get put up! They will literally play for hours.
IF your kids are old enough. My oldest is almost four and I am okay with her doing this. If you aren’t, don’t do it. I put a baby bit of water in the tub and let her play. She is only allowed to use bath toys in the tub BUT on a rare occasion I let her take her Barbie’s in with her and its like Christmas morning! I do talk to her the WHOLE time she is in there. She often tells me to be quiet but I’m not going to just leave her totally unsupervised.
I sometimes put the kids in the tub with no water, in their bathing suits and let them paint the tub. We have tubes of Crayola bath paint, I plop out a few dollops for them and they go to town. Of course they end up painting each other and I have to rinse them off afterwards but they love it! I always stock up on the paint when I find it!
Build a quick fort.
ALL kids love forts! Heck, I still love a good fort! The easiest place I have found to set up a quick fort is under the dining room table. Grab an extra sheet and throw it over the top. Grab a few toys, give the kids a prompt (like pirates or mermaids) and let their imagination run wild!
Clean up is just a sheet and a few toys! Not too big of a mess at all. It is one of those truly great activities for kids!
These methods always work wonderfully in my house. Each activity has minimal clean up, keeps the kids busy for a good chunk of time, and lets me get my own chores done. If you aren’t in a huge rush you should consider letting your kids help if they seem interested. Check out my post HERE about some of the chores that kids love helping with.
What if these tips don’t work?
Take a breath, its motherhood. No one expects you, your kids, or your home to be perfect. Give yourself a break because you are doing the very best that you can. If the plumber shows up and there are still little Ariel panties laying in the bathroom floor it will be okay. If your mother in law drops by and there are 2 days worth of dishes in the sink it will be okay. It probably happened to her once or twice too.
Motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint. Its full of messes, weird smells, and missed opportunities. Don’t let the missed opportunities be times you should have been focusing on your kids. Sometimes even the best plans don’t work out and for whatever reason your kids just need extra mommy attention. Give it to them. You never know how much time you really have so focus on the important things, not the dishes in the sink.