Friday, September 7, 2012

How NOT to Keep your Children Busy and NOT Keep Their Time Occupied

I know what it’s like to feel like an overwhelmed, underappreciated, and overworked mother.  Sometimes circumstances, attitudes, and accidents all compile until all we can do is survive.  It’s time to stop just surviving and start thriving as mothers.

I’ve noticed a trend on Pinterest lately.  Link after link is dedicated to keeping children busy and keeping their time occupied.  While I am fully understanding of the parents who need to find games and activities to help their child deal with certain circumstances such as riding on an airplane/car for hours, but these new pins on Pinterest aren’t for that.  These new pins are for pacifying, placating, and getting children out of a parent’s hair, as if children were pests.  It’s time for parents to pay attention and stop pacifying their children.

I propose a change of focus.

Here is my list of ways to NOT keep your children “busy” and NOT keep their time “occupied”:

1.  Plan activities to benefit your kids, not to benefit you

Instead of just giving children a bowl of rice and some measuring cups to keep them busy with a task (I mean, doesn’t anyone remember how it felt to be given “busy work” at school?),  purposefully think through why you are doing it.  Are you doing it to help your child build their pouring skills or are you trying to gain time for yourself?  If we are constantly focusing on how to get more time for ourselves, we are not spending enough time focusing on our kids.

2.  Schedule a set “me” time that does not involve fighting for your time

Every mom needs a little time to do things for herself.  I simply propose that this is not done at the expense of her children.  We shouldn’t feel the need to escape on a regular basis, instead we need to feel the freedom to take a little time, use a babysitter, request a husband sitting day, or take the kids over to a friend’s house.  If you feel like you are fighting to stay sane, need to escape, or must get away then you are in a mindset that needs to be changed.  You don’t have to just barely survive, thrive!

Ouch, I know this suggestion will sting a little.  However, it’s true.  If you are trying to find ways to keep your children busy because you want to read everyone’s posts on Facebook, browse all of the new pins on Pinterest, and read all of the blogs you are following, then your butt needs to LOG OFF!  Do you want your child to have a memory of a mother who is constantly sitting in front of the computer (or on her iPhone) and does not want to connect with them because she is constantly connecting with millions of online persons?  NOT ME!  I want my son to remember an ENGAGED, FOCUSED, and PLEASANT mom who cared about him more than I cared about my blog, my Etsy, my Pinterest boards, or my Facebook page.

4.  Make a Schedule

Don’t just use your time as a parent.  Plan your time.  Without a plan, we are not the type of mothers that we want to be, we just exist day to day.  Plan to be the parent that you want to be instead of letting yourself fall into the trap of being exhausted, surviving, and merely dealing with each situation that arises.  You are better than that and your child deserves more than that.

I believe that our children deserve better than being given busy work.  I believe our children deserve a responsive parent who will shut off technology in a heartbeat to make their child feel important, special, and loved.  I believe our children deserve a parent who is engaged enough to notice bad habits, bad dreams, and to realize when their child is in need of a little encouragement.  If you agree, get this blog out there to other parents who need to hear this.  In this day and age when technology reigns . . . TAKE BACK the reigns and use technology instead of letting technology use you.

Brooke Shambley

Concerned parent, loving mother, and a few other cool things that are less important than my boy
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