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… although to be fair both of my children are in school now, so if I’m “lucky” enough to be ill on a work day at least the kids might be out of my hair. However, today I’ve lost my voice and have a cough, cold, headache, plague etc, and it is Sunday.
My 9-year-old is no problem, as long as screen time restrictions are firmly thrown out of the window they are happy browsing nonsense Minecraft/Roblox vids on youtube and sitting there quietly with headphones on. The 4-year-old, well, not so much. She wants activity, she wants to be played with, you just want to crawl back into bed and have someone bring you hot lemony drinks and leave you quietly alone.
- finding a new film on download, or buying a new one on an on-demand service that they would be interested in watching (again, screen time purists are going to hate this, but we are talking about getting through the day). We have “The Greatest Showman” to watch that I bought last week on Blu-ray, so we are going to give that a try today. Good if you can muster up microwave popcorn, this will save you a bit from “I’m hungry” moans also.
- Let them loose with your best stationery – if you aren’t a stationery nerd like me then this may not work so well, but I am so this is great. I have a whole stash of bullet journal supplies that they never get to see or play with. My youngest has started doing some brilliant drawings too, and she loves a fancy new pen to do them with. My brush pens are popular, and I have lots of colourful pens, washi tape and stickers. Even just finding a nice looking notebook you forgot about can be a treat to my kiddos.
- Some drawing activities – quiet, simple, cheap and most people can rustle up some paper and a pen, even if it’s the back of an envelope (and enveloped do great pretend play for sending letters to each other, which is lovely too). You could draw an abstract shape, then they have to make it into something, then get them to colour it in (or Zentangle it, make the picture into sections and then they have to do a colourful pattern in each section – here’s a pin demonstrating this, it’s lovely Zentangle)
- Painting – I am mean mummy who can’t be bothered to do painting. Let them loose at the dining table with a plastic tablecloth and a bunch of paints and scrap paper. When finished just bundle up the mess and leave it until you are well enough to sort it out, or pray your partner takes pity and deals with it.
- Play Dens – kids like making cosy dens, I enjoy lying down quietly in them. Get them gathering the cushions and the blankets, you just lie quietly enjoying the den. We have lots of torches, lanterns and fairy lights, which they love to put around the den too.
- Set them challenges – Go and get me something of each colour of the rainbow, spell your name in objects, find me three soft toys that would live in the jungle, find me something shiny, find me 3 books with the letter x on the front
- Listen to an audiobook, maybe with the book in front of you so you can look at pictures or read along. See if they want to draw pictures of what is happening.
- Encourage them to go and play on a console together, preferably in another room. My two love doing Minecraft together, so that’s great, I think sometimes they forget that and need a little nudge. Again, you could provide a task – build me the biggest bed in the world, make me a house, a swimming pool, make a maze. Even my 4 year old can do some of this, I can’t seem to get the hang of the controls, she is always telling me what to do. I feel mega old, even being a gamer, I just haven’t sat that much with it.
I often find if I start a nice activity with the little one that my 9-year-old decides she will participate too, and then that’s quite nice as they do play nicely together and she also thinks of ways to extend the game.
Here is a link to my Pinterest where I like to share lots of things for kiddoes, some of this will be suitable for this trying time.
You need easy food that doesn’t require much attention or moving around.
Our lazy go-to foods:
- Baked potatoes – cheese, beans, tuna, tinned chilli – all things that don’t require much to do once the potatoes are done
- Beans on toast, or cheese on toast. Quick and simple
- Omelette (although depends on how many of you there are, cooking 6 Omelettes would be work!)
- Kiddy Dinner – our phrase for nuggets, chips and beans or any of that kind of combo that comes out of the freezer
- Pasta Pesto – cook pasta, stir this in, my kids eat it even when they aren’t a fan of ‘green’ things. Can also just cook pasta and stir in baked beans and cheese, it’s surprisingly tasty!
Things that *haven’t* worked for me:
- buying new apps – unless they are particularly compelling, the £1.99 only lasts for 5 minutes of fun, the kid can sense weakness and will now ask for more apps.
- Bribery – sort of works for 5 minutes, but again, you leave yourself weak and open to further exploitation. Remember – kids bring you down to their level and then beat you with experience
- Trying to get them to watch something you would enjoy. I love the Princess Bride, this would be perfect comfort movie for me while ill. However, the kids will write it off within 5 minutes if they think you are super keen on it, so it’s best to just appeal to what they would like (something mega energetic, colourful and loud), just arm yourself with earbuds or earplugs and learn to nod and smile.
- “Go and play together somewhere else” – no way mummy, we need to be all up in your grill all day. And if we do go off, we will take it in turns to come back and complain about the other one. However, if you take special time off work to spend time with us, then we will find our cooperative spirit and not want to interact with you even a little bit.