It’s been a long day – you have been Spiderman and a princess and the mum and the dad and a pirate; you have done puzzles and coloured in and made a hungry caterpillar with egg cartons and now you just want a quiet cuppa, uninterrupted.
You don’t have to be an all dancing, all singing entertainer every moment of the day. Your child is blessed with a wonderful imagination. He will survive without you being his best playmate, at least long enough for you to have that quiet cuppa. But try telling that to a bright, active child who is home alone with you.
If you are all played out, but your child isn’t, and you don’t want to resort to TV, it’s OK to cheat. If you are feeling desperately in need of some time out (for yourself, you cant lock your kids in a cupboard) , try these:
Hide and seek
Boil the kettle, then tell your kid, “let’s play hide and seek. You can hide and I’ll come and find you – I’ll count to 100. Then Ill come and find you.” Sit down with your lovely hot cuppa and count – very loudly and slowly. Comment, “I wonder where he is hiding? I bet he’s found a very secret hiding place! I can’t see him anywhere!”
Paint the fence
Set your little pocket rocket up with a shallow bucket of water and a large paintbrush (the kind you paint houses with). Sit back and watch him paint the fence or the verandah while you enjoy your cuppa – while it’s hot!
You don’t want a cuppa but your eyes are almost closing, you are so damn tired. You want to lie down. Grab some markers (washable – hide the black sharpie), roll up your trousers, lie back on a towel or old rug (even washable markers can stain a good couch) and let your kid draw on your legs. You will probably have to wear tights or jeans for a few days until the colour completely washes off – unless you are so exhausted you don’t give a crap who sees your rainbow legs.
Your fantasy includes a luxurious massage at a day spa but it’s not happening any time this afternoon. If you have given your little one massages since he was a baby, now it’s payback time. Pour a little safe vegetable oil into a saucer (a whole bottle of oil would probably buy you time to have a 2 hour nap but you might not feel so relaxed when you wake up to the glory of your tot’s ‘adventure’). Lie on a towel on the floor with your top off. Let the little person massage your back. He will have a great time ‘making you shiny’ while you get to relax (pretty much), and at least you will know exactly where he is. If you feel guilty about ‘slacking off’, remind yourself what a brilliant sensory experience you are providing.
This game is great if you have more than one child . Get yourself a drink before you start – you will need to supervise but it’s pretty simple. Get the kids to lie on the floor and be ‘dead fish’. They have to lie very still – the one who keeps still the longest is the winner! You can play it over and over so each one gets a turn at winning.
No you can’t leave your child alone in the bathroom but you can take your cuppa and drink it while your little one plays with cups and sponges and bubbles. Or you can have a bubble bath together. Often a good splash and some bubble play will help you both to relax. Your child’s emotional tank will be filled so he will be less ‘demanding’ and you can dress him (and you) in your pyjamas afterwards. Then you won’t have to face the evening bath routine when you are both exhausted.