by Lyn Lomasi, Write W.A.V.E. Media Staff
Are your tweens bored during family outings and activities? Perhaps you just need to switch things up and try something new. You don't necessarily have to spend too much money on fancy gadgets. In fact, that could distract them from family fun. To keep the tweens from being bored, our family is always trying something new. Here are some of the all-time favorites that have passed the 'tween fun' test.
Turn walking into an adventure. Asking your tweens to go on a walk may bore them. But only if you make it seem like a chore. Instead, turn it into an exploration. Take a walk on neighborhood trails and bring along specimen containers and other investigative tools. A note pad is great for drawing observations and writing down interesting discoveries and theories. A magnifying glass can help when inspecting insects, leaves, animal tracks, and more. Binoculars are useful when watching birds and other creatures at a distance.
Flash back to when all we used was imagination. Today's tweens are often so into technology that some rarely use their imaginations. Think back to those fun little games you played, such as Telephone, telling ghost stories, Truth or Dare, and more. Remember all the fun you had playing these games with friends and family? Play them with your family and if your tween has her won ideas or variations, go along with them. These games are not just a good source of entertainment. They can also help bring families closer through the power of laughter. The best part is that they can usually be adapted to fit all age ranges. This is an important aspect in a large family like ours.
Scavenger hunts are cheap, easy, and entertaining. It doesn't take strenuous planning to set up a scavenger hunt. But the resulting fun and memories are priceless. Create a list of items for each child to find in the backyard or area park. These should be easy things to find in nature, such as a dried leaf, a fallen twig, or a rock. Your tweens (and even the younger kids) can be given a reusable grocery bag for collection purposes. It's up to you whether to make it a competition and award prizes or just let the kids go to it finding the items. If you want to mix things up even more, instead of the list, give the kids a treasure map or one clue at a time as each item is found.
Tweens and music go hand-in-hand. Turn up the music and have a family dance session. But don;t play just your music. Let the tweens choose music as well. I know, I know, some of their choices will be worse than nails on a chalkboard - at least to your ears. Save the complaints about it for another time and just enjoy the time with your kids. Understanding the music your tweens listen to can help you understand them more as well. The kids might even be able to teach you a new dance. You know they will feel you need the lessons.
Wacky sports can be a big hit with tweens. Have you ever tried blending sports together? For instance, try playing soccer or basketball while skating. Invent your own sports by mixing up and combining two or more sports with each other. Safety first, of course, but other than that, be creative. Water Balloon Golf is one of the more interesting combination games my kids and I enjoy playing together. This one is best played on warmer days. If it's a good day for swimming, then it's a good day for this golf variation.
Stop Kids From Jumping on Couches and Beds
"Lisa, get off the couch like that! I told you it's only for sitting." "James, the bed is for sleeping, not jumping." If this sounds like your house, you may be looking for ways to deter kids from jumping on the furniture. Who doesn't like to bounce around and what bounces better than a couch or bed in a kid's eyes? They may not understand exactly why it's such a bad idea.
Explain what can happen. Furniture may wear out from all the bouncing. That could be worrisome for some parents. Furniture isn't cheap. But if you're like me, even though replacement isn't ideal, that's the least of your concerns. When you have kids, it's pretty much a given that things will break. But kids do need to understand that even though bouncing on furniture is fun, it can also be dangerous. They can get hurt. Younger kids might get that message best by singing songs. A good example is "Ten Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed" where the monkeys disappear one by one because of getting injured while jumping on the bed. Older kids should know better. However, a reminder can do them some good if they are still jumping on furniture.
Choose a punishment and make it clear. This is key to making the point that furniture is not for jumping on. Choose a punishment according to your child's age and abilities. Your child needs to know that is what will happen each time he jumps on the bed, couch, or other furniture. Establish this from the very beginning if possible. If your child has already started to jump on the furniture, be sure he knows this new rule. Some ideas may be time out, loss of a privilege, and even an allowance markdown.
Be consistent with your rule. If you tell your child the rule but only enforce it sometimes, it doesn't actually help to have the rule. If you want your child to take you seriously, you need to take the chosen action every single time she jumps on the furniture. Letting it go even once can cause a backslide and it could make it even more difficult to get the situation under control. Being consistent also applies from room-to-room. If you don't allow couch jumping, then don't allow bed or chair jumping either. Changing things from one area to the next can be confusing for a child.
Give them an alternative. Perhaps the kids are jumping on the furniture because it's simply fun to do so. Give them another option. You can't really expect them to want to stop something fun without an equally enticing option. A kid-safe trampoline is one option. An inflatable bounce house or a pogo stick are also great for bouncing. Whether you choose one of those or something else, make sure it's as fun as (or more fun than) jumping on the couch or bed. If the alternative option is less fun, its not going to deter the kids from the furniture for long.
Let them expend some energy. Maybe the kids just have extra energy to waste. Since they are indoors, the furniture is their first target. Let them run around in the backyard or take them to the park. Whenever my kids have extra energy, I like to take them for long walks on local nature trails. If kids aren't allowed to let out all their energy, they will begin trying to let it out in creative ways. Allowing them plenty of physical play can help prevent them from being too energetic indoors, which could be good for your furniture. It's not 100% foolproof, but it should at least cut down on these instances.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Love may not be the first thing some envision when they hear how many kids are in my house. How in the world do you avoid chaos with four kids? That must be a nightmare! No, I can honestly say that I love it. I am not saying every day and every moment is perfect. But I truly enjoy being a single work-at-home mom with a house full of kids and I wouldn't reduce the number for anything in the world.
Boring is overrated.
With four kids around, I never have to worry about getting bored. There's always plenty to do and I love that. Don't know how to sit still? Have some kids and they'll keep you entertained, for sure. Whether it's a game of hide and seek, having family movie night, or even chasing around the mischievous one, there's always something to keep me going.
Ditch the eery silence!
Some people might like a quiet house but I find that quite unnerving. I love the fact that my house will never ever be quiet during waking hours. My kids see to that for me without even trying. There's no such thing as calling the Ghostbusters around here. It's too loud for that. What ghost in its right mind would even dare to take a step in this house?
More kids means less money on clothing.
Say what? Kids grow so fast that one barely has time to wear an outfit before it gets handed to the next. Sure, each kid does get their own new things. But it's nice to know that most items will get their fair use in before donating them to the local shelter.
I don't need the T.V. for background noise.
I've never been a fan of television, unless the NBA is on. So it's a good thing I have lots of kids. They provide plenty of background noise during my day-to-day tasks and I love it because it helps me get my work done.
I can have a fancy dinner every night.
Who needs to go out to eat when you have a bunch of little chefs-in-training around? My kids and I take turns cooking and sometimes we all cook together. Every night is gourmet when the food is made with love.
No one wants to come disturb me while I'm working.
I work at home, which means I prefer no company during certain hours. Having a house full of kids remedies that situation. Everyone knows that if they come over, I am not going to ditch my kids. So, many just avoid me altogether. We love it because it means I have more time to work and the kids have extra time to learn.
In-house hair stylists keep me well-groomed.
There's no need to go to a fancy salon when I have three girls in the house. OK, so I let my son in on the fun, too. Shh, don't tell their dad! I think my kids have more fashion sense than the 'professionals' these days, anyway.
Last-minute parties are all the rage!
We have enough people to throw a decent party without even making a phone call. We can just throw together some homemade pizza, pop some popcorn, pop in some music, pull out the board games, and we're good to go. We do of course invite others sometimes too. But it's so cool that we don't have to.
Everything I do is amazing!
At least that's how the younger kids see it, anyway. Mommy is a magic miracle worker who can make anything happen. When's the last time your boss thought you were as awesome as Santa?....never? Yeah, I thought so. I love having lots of people in my house who think I'm the most amazing creation ever - and guess what? I think they are too!
There's never a shortage of love.
Having a bad day? Try hugging a kid and watch how quickly those troubles melt away. Each time I see one of the kids smile or hand me one of their latest crafty creations, the worries I have disappear in a flash. Love is the cure for everything and when you have four kids around, there's plenty of it.
Photo Credit: Lyn Lomasi
*I originally published this on Yahoo! Contributor Network (some words were changed here, due to outdated info)
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans network. She is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! Running a network of websites, tackling deadlines single-handedly, and coaching fellow writers, brands, & entrepreneurs to be thought leaders is her top priority.
While rescuing civilians from boring content and brands, this awesomely crazy family conquers the world, managing Intent-sive Nature while going on Upstream Parenting adventures & lessons, sometimes in an RV. They strive to cuddle with lions and giraffes. Until then, they settle for rescue dogs and cats.
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