Parenting support thread for doing more with your kids

(41 Posts)
TheMaskedHorror Mon 11-Mar-13 10:56:01

Would anyone like to join me in aiming to spend more time with your kids?
I've got 3 dcs. Since I've had no.3 (almost 5 months), I really feel that I'm just not doing anything with the older two.
They are well looked after but all I seem to do is bark orders at them at the moment.
I've stopped reading to them and don't seem to do much else except on the odd occasion here and there.

Ideally, I want to start reading a chapter book to them again every night, playing a board game once a week and baking for their packed lunches once a week to just start things off.

I'm open to other ideas if anyone has any and any advice on how to spend more time with older dcs whilst dealing with a demanding baby would be most welcome.

LizaRose Mon 11-Mar-13 11:00:05

I'll join this one! I don't have a baby ( well, my 6 yr old is my baby!) but the baking one would be good, and I should get back into the habit of reading with DD at bedtime, although she likes to read to me now.

I need to get my DSs (9 and 11) to spend a bit less time on their iPad and computer and have more family time.

TheMaskedHorror Mon 11-Mar-13 12:12:49

Hi Liza.
What are your ideas for more family time?

Jibberoo Mon 11-Mar-13 12:44:42

great idea. i sometimes struggle to find things to do especially on bad weather day (i'm an outdoors kind of mum and can easily find activities out and about but struggle with at home play).
Some of the things I try are: board games, baking (i make gingerbread men as when i make the doh i make enough for 3 bakes and just freeze 2 pieces for next time), basic cooking, basic experiements (volvano, making slime, freezing water/turning it into steam etc), games on the ipad together, reading (but running out of good books for 3.6yo DS), some crafts but DS isnt into it much, lego and random dinosaur/ben 10 play.
this weekend with the weather bad we were stuck inside for a lot of the weekend (did go out to zoo for 2hrs) and DS was a bit bored.
some of the ideas i've come up with (havent tried yet) are:
- going to library together to get books but also read there
- trying to come up with learning sheets for places to visit (e.g. local museum trip is boring for DS so am hoping a 'can you find' kind of activity will interest him)
- expand on cooking and try some of the recepies on Let Cook (cbeebies)
- find some more indoor experiments to do
- letter collage making (he's just getting into letters so want to encourage that by having a letter of the day and pics of things that correspond to that letter)

For older DCs I have one idea but not sure how they would work
- make a home movie (get them to write it, choose costumes, and get parent to play a part)

def looking for more ideas though so please keep them coming

AnnIonicIsoTronic Mon 11-Mar-13 12:48:20

Forget baking but do make time for reading.

It's a time saver in the long run - once they're in the habit they start reading to each other, & diassapearing off for quiet reading time in their room.

I think start with a picture book every night though. Chapter books are harder for DC to focus on, & you may be discouraged if they mess around.

AnnIonicIsoTronic Mon 11-Mar-13 12:50:30

Re: baking - again start small - get some of those value sponge mixes from tesco which the DC can pretty much make alone. Decorate with smarties. Smiles all round.

Me - I'm teaching my DC to clean! DD1 washes up, DS1 hangs out laundry & Ds2 does the dusting. Surprisingly convivial.

Oscarandelliesmum Mon 11-Mar-13 13:07:00

Please can I join too?
I also.have three. Baby of 8 mns, three year old and six year old. Horrible endless winter hasn't helped but I have definitely let standards slip and let the screens go on too much. Off to stop neglecting them now and serve lunch!!

LizaRose Mon 11-Mar-13 13:17:56

Family time- anything that involves interacting with each other instead of staring at a screen! Board games possibly, don't know how keen they will be. Craft activities, perhaps card making together? DH's birthday is coming up, home made cards would be nice smile

Baking we can manage, they need a bit of help weighing out ingredients but a basic sponge mix is easy enough. 10 minute banana bread from overripe bananas.

Jibberoo, how do you make slime? I can see that being popular!

TheMaskedHorror Mon 11-Mar-13 14:04:47

My older dcs are 7 and 5 and they do enjoy chapter books. We've done a fair few Roald Dahl. 7 yr old does read his own books but still enjoys being read too. I'm sure there will be a time soon when he won't and I'll be really upset that I didn't bother when he wanted me too.

As for the baking, I usually bake quick biscuits/cookies for packed lunches anyway so theres no reason why they cant help out really. I've just been a bit lazy about it all.

Another request for slime details please!

Jibberoo Mon 11-Mar-13 18:36:57

I bought a horrible science kit and it has about 6 experiments in there and all the stuff. To make slime you actually need the slime powder that came in the kit and hit water but I'm sure you can buy the powder online.

Here is a homemade recipe but I haven't tried that
Sorry cant do links on phone

LizaRose Mon 11-Mar-13 20:44:07

Well, I've made the effort and started a book with DD! She was given a box set of fairy books for her birthday so we read chapter one of volume one, let's make it a habit smile

MrsHowardRoark Mon 11-Mar-13 20:55:13

Can I join too?

I came on to see if anyone had any suggestions for activities to do with a toddler.

My DD is 16 months and although we go out and do an activity every morning I feel like I'm not doing enough with her in the afternoons. I'm very lucky in that she can and does entertain herself for hours on end but this has made me rather lazy. I need to structure in some more interactive time together, so any ideas would be most welcome.

Emski76 Mon 11-Mar-13 20:56:52

Hi all. Ive been feeling the same with ds1 who's 5 (I also have ds2 aged 2). Feel like all I ever do is tell him what to do and tell him off for not doing what I tell him!so tonight after school we counted and sorted the money in his many money boxes the read his school book before collecting his brother from nursery. We're also planning a dinosaur project where we make a book about them starting this week with T Rex. He was so excited and enthusiastic about making it that I can't wait either!!
Either myself or my husband read to him every night before bed, tho he has been losing this for misbehaving a few times the last few weeks!!

I have two kids (3.8 and 1), but I also have a large number of nieces that stay frequently at our house.

We have a book called 365 Things To Make And Do by Usbourne, but they have others (see link).

Things we have done over the years:

Blown and painted eggs, painted stones, made wooden spoon people, made modelling clay jewellery, sock puppets, puppet theatre using cardboard box and cardboard people stuck to lolly sticks, made pirate ships out of large cardboard boxes plus eye patches etc... And then played pirates, made masks, made dens, made a shop, baking cakes and biscuit, making pizza, made a den out of blankets and pillows, playdough (even with my older nieces when they were under 10), painting, chalk pictures (hairspray needed to fix), made perfume (bubble bath plus essential oils and food essences, made boats/rafts to sail in the bath, tried to make a water mill that will turn properly using plastic cups, done floating and sinking experiments, made badges, brooches, decorated rings.

If you are really feeling adventurous and have stairs, a makeshift slide made from single mattresses and sliding down in sleeping bags is great fun. Just remember a crash mat and to remove breakable objects.

TheMaskedHorror Tue 12-Mar-13 09:29:44

Lizarose Well done. Its a good habit! I started reading Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator last night. Dcs loved it. I'm hoping to get back into the habit too although baby was getting a bit fed up towards the end.

stitchatemysleep thanks for the ideas. I actually have that book but I've been too lazy to use it much. I'll have a look through it again and see what the kids might like to do from there and then buy stuff next time I'm in the £ shop.

I cant wait for warmer weather. I'm so much better going out and about with the kids. One of our favourite things to do is a walk in the woods with the baby in the sling and a flask of hot choc. I really enjoy it as we end up talking a lot.

TheMaskedHorror Tue 12-Mar-13 09:35:56

I'll check out that slime.

MrsHowardRoark I remember at that age my dcs liked water a lot. I'd give them a shallow bowl of water and let them was their cars and dinosaurs.
Ripping newspapers was fun too otherwise we loved playing with blocks and stacking cups.
I was better at taking them out than doing activities at home!

comeonbishbosh Tue 12-Mar-13 09:41:42

Can I join in?! I've got a just turned 3yr old and a 7 week old. So am a bit on survival mode, and am relying on Cbeebies far more than I used to. The good news is DD1 is starting to really get into imaginative play. The tricky thing is any craft type stuff can require a bit more dexterity than she can manage yet.

Some things that have worked well recently:
Putting up a small (2 person) tent indoors - great novelty factor.
A Cbeebies magazine called ''Art". We were given this as its got lots of things in as well as the usual stickers and pitched well for her age. We ended up fashioning a scuba diving costume which I never would have thought of doing on my own.
'The imagination tree' blog has lots of good arty ideas across different ages ( and good play dough recipes)

comeonbishbosh Tue 12-Mar-13 10:43:05

Also, a blog I came across recently, two posts I liked.

10 things to do while waiting in a restaurant:

25 mini adventures in a library (mostly for school aged kids I would say, but some adaptable for younger ones)

MrsHowardRoark Tue 12-Mar-13 11:50:10

We're snowed in today so I made some cloud dough, which is flour and baby oil mixed together to make mouldable sand.

I had great fun making little castles and digging in it but DD wasn't so keen. Once she realised it didn't taste very nice she went back to destroying the sitting room hmm

This afternoon I plan on making Flapjack so hopefully I can engage with her more over that.

Sometimes children make it very difficult to be the amazing parent you know you can be grin

LizaRose Tue 12-Mar-13 11:50:51

DS1 is out at his performance group tonight rehearsing for Bugsy Malone, the younger two want to make a rainbow cake so will let you know how we get on!

comeonbishbosh Sat 16-Mar-13 08:04:19

Was feeling unable to summon up much energy yesterday, but a small thing that worked was reading 'You choose' with DD1. More interactive than reading other books, she does most of the talking so I don't need to think that much, and compatible with nursing a newborn!
Good for those times when even simplist 'making' activity seems like too much work.

SerotoninCanEatTomorrow Sat 16-Mar-13 08:10:48

Can I join? I have a very independent 2.10 DS and I feel like I neglect him a lot because he plays so well by himself!

Good play dough recipes would be fab, and I'm sure we would all find it helpful if those awesome mummies who do lots could provide some links/details about the activities so I can shamelessly copy them for inspiration?

tasmaniandevilchaser Sat 16-Mar-13 11:17:56

great idea for a thread, I've been thinking the same thing. DD is very independent in playing and will happily while away an afternoon with Netflix on the iPad. I am starting to feel guilty but being heavily pg + terrible weather doesn't make going outside very attractive, so need some ideas for indoor activities. Just marking my place and will be back...!

Louise85 Sat 16-Mar-13 16:26:31

Can I join as well? Realised that dd is spending 6/7 hrs a day on pc shock blush...with a newborn have been slack but need to get this down to an hour.

Serotonin, I have a great no-cook playdough recipe - will dig it out and post asap

LackingNicknameInspiration Sat 16-Mar-13 22:48:42

Can relate to this one - DD1 is 5, DD 2 is 3 and DS is 11 months but seems to be convinced he's a newborn at night...

So, we bake after school once a week, which always feels it will be a hassle but it lovely.

Currently doing stuff with Easter stencils - decorating pictures, sticking them on cards and turning them into bunting with ribbon

Scattering lots of 'gold coins' round house and finding them - not always ideal with mobile baby - one day I'll do a map ..,

Play doh always popular, as is cutting and sticking

Stick a cd on and give them instruments (pickers etc) - they now line the toys up and have a band

And if we're all Knackered and only telly will do, then we sometimes close blinds, move furniture and turn it into a cinema with pot of sweets or similar

I do still spend much time shrieking from kitchen but find that if I start them off they'll keep going when I have to do tea.

Oh and bedtime they choose a pic book each then we have 1 or 2 chapters of Faraway Tree or similar after teeth clean once in bed - they share a room which helps.

So looking forward to some better weather though!

Good luck!

MrsHoneybean Sat 16-Mar-13 23:38:40

What brilliant to share ideas on this. I shall join too. smile

I struggle to spend quality time with my 2 ds's. I always seem to be doing chores and cooking tea and never doing anything with them.

The only thing I manage is bedtime stories.

I do feel really guilty and get a bit anxious because my 2 are growing up fast and are 6 and 8 already.

Very occasionally I play board games with them or do some junk modelling which they love too.

Anyway looking forward to being inspired!


comeonbishbosh Sun 17-Mar-13 08:16:07

Here's the imagination tree play dough recipes

I make the no cook one, don't worry about adding glycerine. I do double quantities so there's plenty to go round, and have found it keeps for over a year in a good ziplock bag. For 3 year olds I think one big chunk of one colour less stressful as don't need to worry about getting colours mixed up, and easy to tidy away without cramming into little tubs.

comeonbishbosh Sun 17-Mar-13 08:23:35

And today... Sunday... If you live near Wigan - Manchester - marple - hope valley - Sheffield. There's a double headed steam train going through. Go and stand at your nearest station or bridge and wave excitedly!

Times here:

mummy2benji Sun 17-Mar-13 12:44:15

Great thread! I have good days when I feel pleased that I have managed some quality time and play with ds1 (4) and feel completely knackered but satisfied by evening and days when all I seem to have done is try to do housework (why does the house only look marginally better after a morning of cleaning??) and nag and shout at ds. The latter days are more frequent. I aspire to increase the proportion of good days but am so often too exhausted, stressed if dd2 (5 months) is being difficult, and lacking in imagination. So on with Cbeebies! (or Numberjacks website - full of games and episodes!)

This morning I managed some reading and writing practice with ds, whoop! (Now sound like pushy alpha mum - this happens rarely I swear). And I put on silly voices to play with his cars toys while also cleaning the bathroom. We are about to go out to a kids' puzzle cafe as sometimes we all need a bit of help (dh working). I realise I have failed to contribute any good ideas sorry but I will post again when dd isn't on my lap and dribbling on keyboard while I type with one finger. smile

Louise85 Mon 18-Mar-13 13:33:49

So we've been successful in reducing how much time Dd is in front of a screen (she's having screen time now, but its the first time today - and I need a break!)...we went out to a tots group this morning which was great to get rid of energy, but at home here are some ideas that we've been doing...

Putting her teddies & dolls in 'dangerous' places so that Fireman Sophie can rescue them (this was great coz it took me 5 mins to put them out and her about an hour to find and rescue them :-)

Crafts - I order things from craft ideas
tea party's
baking biscuits
icing baked biscuits with different colours & sprinkles
tea party's
dressing up & role play (doctor doctor is a hit -raisins as tablets)
dancing to an action cd

Dd is almost 3, so I'm guessing this wont be helpful to most of you with older children.

Goingdownthegarden Mon 18-Mar-13 17:12:17

Mine are 7 and 4. Things we´ve done recently are paper mache landscape to drive cars over, have animals living in. It took quite a long time - a bit every day for a few days - so that could be good or bad depending on what you need! We paper mached half a balloon, then found an old piece of wood from a drawer, put the paper mached half balloon on it as a hill, put odd bits of egg boxes etc on the wood and paper mached over the top of it all. Then we painted it as hills and a harbour (blue paint! - unfortunately no real water) and painted a road over it. It has been played with quite a lot.
A great activity our childminder did when ds was 2 was drawing round small toys so there were "silhouettes" of the small toys on a piece of paper. She then hid the small toys in a big bowl full of dried beans or rice. Ds then had to use a spoon to fish the toys out of the rice - like a sort of lucky dip. Then he had to work out which toy fits on which "silhouette". He loved the game. It kept him going for days.
As for slime, have you tried cornflower mixed with a little bit of water? - solid if you "push" it with a wooden spoon - and liquid if you drip it.
With dd and a friend (when they were 6), I drew a map of the living room to explain to them what a map is (I explained it was what you would see if you were a bird flying above it). Then I got her and her friend to draw maps of the garden. They really got in to it and enjoyed it. Then we chose a toy and I kept hiding it in the garden and they had to find it and then run in and mark the spot (with an x of course) where they had found it. They really enjoyed it. We could have done it in two rooms of the house.
Recently we´ve had a lot of fun as a family playing "Grandma went shopping and she bought..." - even 4 year old could really remember a lot of the shopping.
Making pictures like a mosaic by sticking things into a flat piece of clay or playdough. We´ve used stones, dried beans, lentils, dry pasta (different shapes and colours), leaves, bits of bark - and pushed it into the rolled out clay to make a picture (well, it is usually more like a pattern than a picture! - but the process is more important than the result!).
Another good one is a bit christmassy but making a pomanda - dcs can spend AGES sticking cloves into an orange or a satsuma - somehow it´s a bit like bubble wrap!

Goingdownthegarden Mon 18-Mar-13 17:16:16

Just remembered another one: put various fruits/vegetables into a non-see-through bag and each child has to reach in and feel one and either describe what it feels like: smooth, bumpy, long, knobbly, round etc. so the others have to guess what it is or the child just has to guess themselves what they are feeling. Of course, a "right" guess means you get to share the fruit.

RunningKatie Mon 18-Mar-13 20:04:18

Great ideas here, I have a 2yoDD & 4thDS, I had people tell me I'd be able to feed DS whilst reading to DD - but it just doesn't happen as she's more likely to be climbing on him or bouncing around the room.

I've been using packet mixes for baking, which is an awful cheat but she likes them so I figured it's a start. We also go on walks in the buggy and try spotting different animals, it's just such a shame the weather's still so rubbish. Last week we went to the library too and got some books out, I'm ashamed to say we've not done that since DS arrived.

Louise85 Tue 19-Mar-13 21:20:33

goingdownthegarden - great idea about rice game hiding things - kept dd busy for nearly an hour this afternoon :-)

FullOfWoe Tue 19-Mar-13 21:29:25

I'd like to join. DC 6 and 8. I'm currently trying to sped 10 mins focused on them after school as often as possible after school. I also spend 10 mins witholdest one at bedtime every night. Chatting, having a cuddle etc.

issimma Tue 19-Mar-13 21:43:16

I'm in need of ideas too. DD is 2.1 and DS is 4mo.
From now on, I'm going to give DS a baby massage every day, and play exclusively (as much as DS allows) with DD - tea parties, stacking cups, etc. And definitely the rice game garden.

issimma Tue 19-Mar-13 21:43:37

*play exclusively for 30 mins, I meant

KatherineKrupnik Tue 19-Mar-13 21:49:32

what a great thread. Marking my place to return.

redwellybluewelly Tue 19-Mar-13 23:07:31

Theres a blog called 'Rainy Day Mum' which I get a lot of ideas from

I also use pintrest.

I'm expecting dc2 in the summer and can see I'm going to have to get creative as to how to entertain dc1 who'll be almost 3.

At the moment we play farms, shops, push cars around and look after baby doll. I also work FT at the moment so she gets a lot of fun from childcare but we often bake or go for long walks at the weekend.

I also read to dc1 every night before bed, I hope that won't change.

ISpyPlumPie Thu 21-Mar-13 21:06:27

Can I join in too? I have two DSs - one aged three and one aged three months. Although we do quite a few things (reading, library, parent/toddler groups, baking, painting etc) I'm very concious that since DS2 arrived DS1's screen time has increased significantly. He also plays lots of quite involved imaginary games (which are heavily influenced by the tv programmes he watches blush), and although it's great in some respects he has very specific ideas about how I should get involved and I often fall short of his standards.

I would like to do more outdoor stuff. I'm naturally more of an indoors type so find this harder, though we do go for walks and 'bear hunts' in the local woods. As others have said the weather isn't helping atm.

Some great suggestions on here for crafts - this is something else I try without much success as DS1 never seems keen to do anything crafty for long (he's also not keen on drawing or colouring in). I'm hoping that some of the ideas on this thread might hold his attention a bit more effectively.

Must admit I'm struggling to think of what to do during the Easter holidays with no pre-school and most of our groups being closed. Will do some days out, but don't want to bankrupt us. All suggestions gratefully received grin.

comeonbishbosh Fri 22-Mar-13 16:39:51

Today a snow induced whole day in with both kids. Thinking of this thread I have tried to keep positive! Cbeebies has of course been on abut but we have also:
Play dough
Rolled things down cardboard tubes
Put up the 'circus tent' (ikea win)
You choose
Watched a bit of toy story
And.. My most inventive thing, we put a few small things (pegs, tin foil, coins) in a couple of plastic bowls, covered with a cm of water and put them outside to freeze. Am about to go outside and see if the experiment has worked and we can hang the ice disks off the washing line!

We are still in our pyjamas. smile Granny back up has just arrived so may even be able to save the magazine til tomorrow.

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