Over the last month or so I have really focused on my family time with the children. I follow a lovely blog called Make It Give It - Let It Shine. Miriam has been focusing this year on making a more focused effort to spend more quality time with her children, and its inspired me to do the same with mine. I so easily get caught up in the everyday rush of life - three children under 4, running a house, running a business, faith, being a wife, finding some time to craft and just be me. More often than I care to think I put the play needs of my children to the bottom of the pile. Miriam's blog has inspired me to change this, and to rearrange my priorities when it comes to quality time with my children.
So I am making an effort to focus alot more on quality time with the children. Dropping the housework when the children want me to come and look at something, finding fun free activities we can do as a family, listening to their needs more and just stopping and cuddling and spending time together. And I have noticed a major change in Danger Mouse - he has, over the past few weeks, started telling me he loves me, kissing me, and there is a lot less frustration from him.
Its not that I didn't spend lots of quality time with them before, because I did, but I did it when it suited me. And some days, it never suited.... I found myself frequently telling them "Not right now, Mummy is busy", "In a minute, Mummy just needs to finish this first" - and I hated it. I think it causes alot of frustration in small children who don't understand the concept of a minute (which often stretches to 20 ..), who easily get distracted so as a parent you miss the moment, and who can easily feel pushed aside when its said to them ALOT!. Now I have changed this focus, and answer to their needs more when it suits them, and the changes have been awesome. They still have to wait every now and then, especially when it really doesn't suit - cooking dinner, nasty nappy changes - some things just can't wait!
I can't wait to spend more fun times with my children ... so what if the house is a tip, right?
Some of the activities we have done have been:
A colour treasure hunt. I printed off some colours on cards and took them down to the Hamilton Gardens. They were each given a colour and had to find something in the gardens that matched the colour on the card. This was more to help Danger Mouse learn his colours. He did fantastically, but both boys had trouble matching their blue colours.
We went on a nature trail around the lake in Cambridge. We collected leaves, pinecones, sticks and all sorts of random things with different textures. We talked about trees and how they drop their leaves, how they grow, the ducks in the lake, fish in the lake and what a pinecone is.
We've had plenty of water fun at the beach, and also lots of waterplay with our new waterplay table.
Family trips to the miniature trains
And there have been countless bike rides, trips to discover new parks around town, lots of car play on the floor, book reading, trampoline bouncing, paddling pool play and way more than I can mention.
My children are gifts, and I am glad I have rediscovered the joy of parenting everyday, and not just when it suits me.