Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happiest at Home

As much as we like to be on the go and soaking up all of the activities geared for preschoolers and toddlers at the bookstores, libraries, zoos, jumpy fun zones and parks I've stumbled upon a secret and I want to share it with you...

My kids are happiest at home. 

Or at least they seem to be at this phase of life.

Here's another secret--we're all happier this way.

Let me be clear I (the 33 year-old housewife) am a big fan of all of the programs geared toward entertaining and stimulating our little ones. I love the idea of enriching their lives with days of zoo exploration, introducing science, music, prose and on and on.

The reality is that with a rambunctious 2.5 year old and a one year old, these activities really only exercise my ability to control an uncontrollable situation, my son's creativity in rule-pushing and my daughter's frustration and lack of understanding of the task at hand. Oh, and there's the fact that a day out at some of these free activities often somehow costs about fifty smackers or so by the time we park, snack, get a "prize" for being somewhat well-behaved, someone runs out of juice so we have to snack get the point.

So, I'm taking the pressure off and letting the "Family Events and Things-to-Do" calendars go.

With summer just ahead I feel like everywhere I turn I feel pressured to drag my kids to some 3-5 hour enrichment program "designed just for our little explorers". I'm sure I'm not the only one. This week the kids and I spent an entire day at home. I was very productive around the house, nap times and meal times were on schedule and without issue. We played, ran, giggled and read a dozen or so books. No one shed a tear, no one fussed, no timeouts were needed and no voices were raised.

Lately basically the opposite has been happening when we visit our local bookstores, zoos, kids museums, parks, etc.

I'm not trying to turn us into hermits or homebodies, I'm just stepping away from the expectation (is it mine? is it others?) that I need to spend 2 days a week running errands and filling the other days with complicated things-to-do.

What's important right now is that I foster kindness and character in my kids. This doesn't mean I have to force them to listen to a stranger read them a story and sit still and be quiet and be a good listener in a room full of people they'll likely never see again. It's overwhelming to them and frustrating to me.

So if you're feeling this way too, I give you permission as well to skip the story times, toddler treasure trails, and preschool buddies sing-a-longs. We'll all be okay.

Instead we'll crank up the tunes at home, check out wildlife everywhere we find it, read our stories when we choose and make up new games to foster creativity. We'll enrich our lives through friendships and family-and yes, take a trip to the zoo and the bookstore-but without the pressure of making it in time for special programs, making new "buddies", and without expectation.

1 comment:

  1. Completely agree. We are go go go go go. I pick up Brady and I want to cram stuff in before bed time. thank you for sharing.