Where do you start?  A good idea is to ask your children what they would like to do and use their suggestions as much as possible.  Try to get them involved in planning the day or week. Then they could write it down or draw pictures for the activities and post it on the fridge. Then a great way to manage is to have a plan.  Plan a new activity everyday to keep life interesting.  We live in a city with beautiful weather so there are lots of options.  With younger children keep in mind that the mornings are the best time for them to go out, they are then well rested after a good nights sleep and full of energy.

On the day, you could give your child / children a choice of jobs to help prepare anything they need for the activity.  The aim is to get them involved be it hats, drink bottles, containers, picnic blanket etc.  Children enjoy being involved and part of the preparation, it gives them something constructive to do rather than run around excitedly. If you praise their participation and help they will help more.

Use the activities you decide on to teach them something new.  If you are at a park, for example you could take note of the type of tree, the shape of leaves, seed pods, bark, the trees name?, birds, types of dogs, flowers.  It is really unlimited.  You can even collect bits and pieces to use for a picture, card, collage or a collection to show Dad later that day.  This will give your children a good starting point to discuss what they did with their day later.  Also check your local council websites for school holiday activities these can be a lot of fun and children will make new friendships.

In the afternoons you could plan activities at home especially for younger children. If you have a plan you will feel more in control, your will find your children concentrate better, are happier and get along.  Use your plan to include toys at home or jigsaw puzzles they haven’t seen for a while. Children will soon busy themselves with forgotten toys and books. Stock up on puzzle books and craft projects. Another idea is to encourage them to choose and be a part of preparing dinner.

Dinner time is a great time to encourage them to discuss their day.  You could start with, ‘What did you like most about today?’.  This is also a good chance to make a special mention of any times during the day when your children worked well together or any other behavior you liked. Perhaps discuss the plan for tomorrow and what needs to be taken and who would like to do what.  If you take the time to do some planning you will find that your children are busy and enjoy their time at home, and you do to.

Nicole Pierotti

Written by Nicole Pierotti

© Copyright 2012. No reprinting or publishing without permission from writer. For permission or further information contact nicole@babysmiles.com.au.

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