Alone with the kids: The list

Now it’s finally here: The list of what to tho when you’re alone with the kids over the weekend. The list I definitely should have had ready two weeks ago.

  1. Choose your battles. That’s the most important in this family. In the everyday life there is a lot of battles. When alone with the kids I skip all of them. Nearly. The kids have to brush their teeth and they must go to bed. I do not bother to argue over vegetables.
  2. Time. I make sure there is more than enough time. Always. I will rather take my time and be late then rush the kids.
  3. Activities. The days should be swamped with planned activities. And every single activity should be something that can be skipped. Just in case you’re running low on time. 
  4. Leave the chores for next week. I never do chores when alone with the kids. Awake time should be spent together doing fun stuff. After the kids are at sleep I’m to exhausted by all the activities to any chores. There is always time to tidy the house later on.
  5. Dinner. Make the dinners as simple as possible. Preferably something from the freezer. It should definitely be something from the kids favorite list. I like to make an activity of going out for pizza. 
  6. Get out of the house! At least two times during the day. I usually go out once before Tiny needs his nap, and once before dinner. This breaks up the day a little and the kids are less restless. Suddenly a lot of time is spent just dressing the kids. 
  7. When Tiny is sleeping I always make sure big sister gets a lot of one on one attention. That’s when we to all the stuff she want to do without having Tiny mess it up.

    This covers the most important issues in our family. Now, the tricky part. What activities to do with a four year old girl and a 18 month boy an entire weekend? 

    The hard part here is that the oldest usually prefer activities that little brother can’t join in on. Or that Tiny destroys whatever the oldest is playing with. Whatever Tiny prefers to do, big sister finds it boring. I find it hard to sync these little ones at their current age, but I have a couple of tricks that usually works. I’ll give you my list to pick from:

    1. Drawing. Both like drawing. For a while. I just need enough crayons and it’s important to have enough distance between them. So they don’t look at the same crayon at the same time. 
    2. Painting. Same issues as number 1, but works out fine. 
    3. Puzzles. I need to find the age appropriate puzzles and I have to sit between the two pirates. Then I can help them both and they keep being friends. 
    4. Lego. Some wouldn’t put Legos in front of their 18 month boy, but for us it works great. Tiny has his little box he can mess with and big sister has her own box. Again: I should sit in the middle avoiding pirating. 
    5. Beads. Maybe not the best for Tiny, but if he gets his own kit with a few small boxes to shift the beads between he’s quite happy. By the way: he’s doesn’t eat everything anymore.
    6. “Cooking”. They both love making pretend dinners and desserts at the kid-stove. 
    7. Duplo Lego. Big sister could find this a bit boring, but if I join in on a bit of role play with the figures she’s all in.
    8. Running. This is usually not allowed, but when home alone it’s all in. The kids love chasing each other around the house. Especially if I join in and try to catch them.
    9. Playdo is great for a while. Tiny prefers to put small balls of playdo in and out of boxes, but only for so long.
    10. Baking. This could be a success or a big failure. My key word is time. Baking buns together is really fun if the kids are allowed to “help”all the way. It usually takes three times longer and a LOT of mess. If I tolerate this it’s usually a lot of fun and gives a great dessert for later on.
    11. Bathing. They love to bath together. If the kids are getting bad tempered I put them in the bathtub and everything is fine.
    12. Playground. Go to the playground, bring toys to use in the sand. Both love it.
    13. Snow! Snow is great, if you have it. Bring skies, sledges, what ever you have. I find the snow smashing for big sister, but it’s a bit tougher on Tiny. It’s difficult to walk as he falls over a lot. If I can put him on a sledge with a wheel he is usually happy for a while. A slope and a sledge can keep the kids busy for a quite while, just make sure you’re in good enough shape to run up and down the slope with them. 
    14. Make a snowman. I make sure to actively include Tiny since this is a bit difficult for him.
    15. Snowlights. The kids love the snowlights. It doesn’t take much time and they are so pretty when it gets dark outside.
    16. Go inside and make hot chocolate when cold from playing in the snow.
    17. Bike and kick bike are great when the snow is gone. The kids usually starts bickering over who’s turn it is. Wish we had two of each! 
    18. Crayons on the asphalt! Great for big sister. Tiny is happy if I bring a toy car or two.
    19. Soap bubbles. A bit messy, but they both love it. 
    20. Playdate. Meet up with someone. If they have kids the same age, great! If not, it really doesn’t matter. Just make sure you see a new face or two. 
    21. Take a walk to the lake. I find this kind of difficult with my pirates. Big sister isn’t big on walking, and the stroller only take one. Families I know bring a bike or a kick bike and the four year old is running ahead of the rest. Wish it worked for us as well. 
    22. Go visit a nearby farm or similar where you’re allowed to see the animals. 
    23. Find a pond where you can throw rocks in the water. 
    24. Buy ice cream.
    25. Visit a (kid friendly) cafe. Make sure to eat something unhealthy.
    26. Find an unexplored playground. New is always exiting. Find a playground you haven’t visited before.
    27. Go to the mall. Make sure not to try to get anything done. Just fool around and let the kids play. Works great on a rainy day. 
    28. Visit the local library.
    29. Buy groceries. Strangely enough, but the kids love it. Big sister helps putting groceries in the carriage and Tiny sits nicely in the car-shaped carriage. 
    30. Go watch a excavator. Tiny could watch forever, big sister for a while. 
    31. In summertime the options including beach, bathing, water is endless. It simply needs it own post. 

      It’s not revolutionary, but I find it useful to be reminded of all the everyday activities that doesn’t take to much effort. 

      Hope it’s useful for you too! 


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