Last year I shared how our afternoons were not working and it was one big chaotic mess. I have made a few changes this year which have allowed me to play more with the younger two kids. These changes have made the afternoons, in general, calmer which leads to calmer evenings.
So, what has changed?
I pick Jack and Emma up later. This may sound strange but I spent the afternoons driving around with Cameron and Kiara, this stresses us all out. I now leave the younger two at school until I am done with the main trips and then collect them. It also means I can get all my work done before I fetch them as well. This allows us to have some amazing quality time together. They are the only two in the car when I collect them so I can have meaningful conversations with them about their day. When we get home, most afternoons it is just the 3 of us. I try make sure that dinner is also cooked by the time we get home so that the time we have is time we can do whatever it is that they want.
Following on from this, I say yes, a lot more during the afternoons. Instead of saying no to the games they want to play I say yes. This results in less nagging because they have my undivided attention doing an activity they enjoy. Saying yes more means it is easier to say no when I need to. When I agree to do what, they want, they are more willing to do what I need them to do, like bath or eat dinner.
We have reduced their toys. I have been slowly working through their toys and we now have a smaller collection of, mainly educational toys, that they enjoy playing with. They both really enjoy playing with the puzzles we have and Jack has taken to drawing and coloring in. One of our favorite toys, even with the older two is the shape sorter or Fisher Price Baby’s First Blocks that comes in a portable bucket. (Also, who doesn’t remember having one of these growing up?) I love this toy for so many reasons, I use it to teach shapes, colors, hand-eye co-ordination and even sequencing. Both Emma and Jack still enjoy playing it even though they can both do it easily now.
I have lowered my expectations. This is not meant negatively but expecting the afternoons to run smoothly was placing unrealistic expectations on both myself and the children. Some days work out and others don’t, when they don’t I let it go and go with the flow. I don’t get stressed out or upset when dinner gets cooked late or we end up skipping bath time. I just enjoy the moments we have together.
Ultimately children are pretty easy to please. All they really want is your time and undivided attention. Spending more time with them in the afternoons has allowed me to give them both. The result is Emma has fewer tantrums and I feel like, most days, I am getting this parenting thing right.
So come on, everybody, #PlayMore. Visit the Fisher-Price website and like the Facebook to find more of their awesome toys.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.
If you enjoyed this post please share with your friends! You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat (harassedmom) and don’t forget to subscribe to my weekly newsletter.