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The start of a New Year is a great time to evaluate your goals and priorities as parents, and a fairly common resolution is to take the time to do more crafts, play more games and just spend quality, focused time with our kids. But how do you take it from a resolution, full of good intentions, and make it a reality in your home?
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Define your priorities.
There are so many different crafts and activities that we could do with our kids, but that doesn’t mean we should do them all. Figure out what your personal goals and priorities are and focus on those things rather than trying to replicate every good idea you come across. Are you interested in incorporating a Waldorf approach to learning and play? Do you prefer arts and crafts that reinforce a lesson? Would you rather dance and play music than paint and draw? Is spending time outside in nature a higher priority for you than embracing the arts? I don’t think any of these is right or wrong, but if you try to do everything, you can easily become frustrated and discouraged.
2. Don’t make it too complicated.
I often feel sorry for our oldest daughter. She is the firstborn of two firstborns, and the poor child has always been stretched and pushed to hurry up and do the next thing. I was so excited to start doing crafts and activities with her that I started way too early and ended up completing most of them by myself while she played with plastic bowls and spoons at my feet. Unfortunately, while I at least recognize this tendency of mine and haven’t put the same pressure on our other girls, I’m still doing it to her. While I think stretching and learning new skills is a good thing, sometimes the most fun and precious memories come from simple crafts and activities that can just be enjoyed together, even if they’re the same ones you’ve done a dozen times before!
3. Check your supplies and plan ahead.
If doing regular arts & crafts together is your priority, keep basic supplies stocked and accessible so that you can pull the out even when you don’t have a more involved project prepared. For us, construction paper is the foundation for a wide variety of crafts, including chalk drawings, cutting and gluing, painting, coloring, book-making and more.
It also helps to plan ahead. You don’t have to have a rigid plan of, “We’ll do this on this day,” but putting together arts & crafts boxes with the supplies you need for 3 or 4 projects is a great way to make sure you’re not left digging through your supplies trying to find something to do.
Whether your priority is playing games, baking together or taking time to slow down and enjoy nature, think through what you need to have ready so that you’re not wasting precious time trying to get everything you need together.
4. Look for inspiration.
I know my first point was not to try to do everything, but as long as you keep a healthy balance, reading blogs who share ideas for crafts and activities is a great way to find inspiration and get motivated to do them with your own kids. Today, Amanda from Impress Your Kids, one of my favorite sites to look to for inspiration, is sharing her resolution to doing more crafts and activities this year as well as her plan for making it happen. There is no shortage of blogs with projects — from the simple to the more involved — and Impress Your Kids is a great place to start blog hopping!
5. Expect messes and meltdowns.
Whether you’re painting or playing Monopoly, don’t expect a beautiful, neat, idyllic experience, or you will end up disappointed. Expect paint to drip on the floor, Monopoly money to get spread across the room and someone to end up in tears when they lose for the third time in a row or can’t get their painting to look just the way they want it to. Each of these is a great opportunity for an important lesson and lots of love, but if you’re expecting everything to go smoothly, you might miss it, and that defeats the purpose!
Is one of your resolutions to do more crafts or activities with your kids? What is your highest priority?
The 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010 series is sponsored by Get Organized Wizard. Achieve your goals with Design Your Life, an e-program that’s broken into easy, manageable chunks and delivered right to your inbox each week!