Stay-at-home mums or working mums, one thing we all mums of small children all have in common is this: we always have an endless list of things to do.
When was the last time we ever did something for ourselves? When can we ever find the time to be ourselves and ‘do our own things’?
Sometimes, we let the TV or iPad babysit our kids, so we can relax for a few minutes. But then we feel guilty and worry if it would impair our kid’s creativity and health.
I have two small children who are 4 and 2. With quite some experiments, I’ve found three best ways to keep these little toddlers fully engaged in their own creative activity, so I can do ‘my own things’ while they have fun.
Here’s how I do it, and I strongly encourage you to try a trick or two, too.
1. Let them draw with music
Turn on their favourite music, give each one of you and your children a large sheet of paper and some crayons or charcoal (pencils may be too sharp for very small children), and start drawing. Show them how you groove with the music to make marks on paper, and invite them to join you.
My kids’ favorite is Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal and Billie Jean. I’ve found that this activity can keep them engaged for 10 to 20 minutes.
2. Let them draw with an art video
When kids see action, they naturally want to imitate and do likewise. If you show them an art-making video, and they would naturally want to grab a brush, pencil or crayon and start creating.
It gets even better when they are watching a video of themselves being painted. I made a 3-minute video documenting how I painted my 4-year-old, and both of my kids love it! When it is art time with video, they would ask me to replay this particular video again and again, while they immerse in their own work, and occasionally look up to the screen.
My personal experience has shown that this activity can keep them engaged for around 15 to 30 minutes.
3. Let them paint in the shower or backyard
I have learned the hard way, that it is better for the kids to play with paint in the shower, or backyard, where I can easily clean up the mess (or the by-products of their masterpieces).
You simply stick some watercolor paper on the wall, or place it on the ground in backyard, let them choose their favorite two or three colors, give them plenty of paint diluted with water to be economical, and they will take good care of themselves.
This activity is better in summer because the little would get quite wet. It can keep them engaged for at least an hour!
What is your trick? Are you going to try any of these? Or do you have your own favorite trick for a busy parent? Share with us in the comments.