For those of us who have spent time with small children in public places, we’ve all been there. You know, when they get tired, bored, hungry…and therefore, cranky? Your heart beats a little faster, your eyes check the room for those “looks”, and you need a solution – fast. And you want to entertain your child without a smartphone.
If your go-to solution is an electronic device, you may enjoy a short reprieve, but you may also wonder what kind of pattern you’re helping to establish.
Reaching for an electronic device anytime you feel bored or unhappy may not be the healthiest option to impart. Learning to interact with people, and learning to entertain yourself are healthier AND doable strategies.
Crayons, paper, pens? Good choices. What if you’re without your usual bag of tricks? Here are 9 ways to entertain your child without a smartphone. And avoid the oncoming apocalyptic meltdown.
Get your Frank Sinatra or Barbra Streisand on and hum a familiar song like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or “Old McDonald,” and see if they can: a) name it, b) complete a line c) sing along for as long as possible.
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Try this at a restaurant. Grab several objects, like silverware, packets, stir sticks and place them on the table. Instruct your sweetie pie to take a good look. Cover your collection with a napkin, and carefully remove one of the items without them being able to tell which one. This is your chance to be Houdini! Remove the napkin and ask which one is missing. Repeat as many times as possible. Try role reversal. They’ll love “fooling” you!
Also, check out this easy travel game –> Which Ninja Is Missing? An Awesome Memory Game For your Kids. It’s such a fun game that takes ZERO time to set up and keeps your kiddo completely interested and focused. Ninjas always rock, right?!
Choose an animal and play whatever version of 20 question your child is suited for. “Do you crawl?” “Do you swim?” When they guess correctly, spend some time making whatever animal sound it makes.
Find objects in your surrounding of different colors. Ask them, “Can you touch something that is X?” If your location is suitable for walking around, you can go mobile.
It’s the classic! Certainly solid territory for a little older child able to process this guessing game. Choose something both of you can see, then say, “I spy something, and it starts with ____.” If your child has a basic understanding of the alphabet and a modest vocabulary, fill in the blank with a letter. “I spy something, and it begins with the letter C.” It can help to sound it out: “Ca-Ca-Ca.” For the preliterate set who knows only their colors or shapes, substitute those categories instead. You can also describe the objects’ properties: “I spy something, and it’s rough and scaly/smooth and shiny.”
This one requires a pen and paper. Divide the paper into a quadrant. Draw the same shape in three of the squares, but draw a different one in the fourth. Examples: 3 cats, one elephant. Have them point shape that’s different. You can make a more advanced version for older children.
Riddles can be fun for you to come up with and for your child to solve. For example: “I have four legs and am covered in fluffy white wool. What I am?” or “I’m shaped like a circle, I have two hands, and numbers all around me. What am I?” Need a little inspiration?
Check out –> 15 Fall Riddles and Jokes for Kids
Show your kid your open empty hands. Place an object like your keys in one of your hands and close both hands. Put your hands behind your back and switch the object back and forth between them. Bring your closed hands back in front of you, and ask your child to guess which hand the object is in.
So, there they are:
9 Ways to Entertain Your Child without a smartphone.
Do you have some tried and true non-electronic kid entertaining ideas? Leave your tip in the comments below.
Now that School is back in session, life gets back to established routines. Here are 5 Amazing Cleaning Routines for Kids that actually work! We cover routines for:
- Toy pick up
We even cover the inevitable challenge points, sticking points, and what ifs. Consistent implementation will help change your family dynamic.
- Step #1: Clear the bed and make it. (1-2 minutes) No matter how atrocious the bed and floor seem, the first step is to throw EVERYTHING off the bed to the floor. I know, I know. This is how the mess was created in the first place. But it is also an important step in cleaning the room. With the bed clear, it is easy to make. And, a made bed makes any room look cleaner. If you are scouring the room and thinking that maybe a little change to the decor would make things easier for tidying up, you may want to check out https://collov.com/inspiration/kids_room to see how you can make the best out of what you want.
- Step #2: Put all clothes on the bed. (2 minutes) Using the “full hands” philosophy, collect every piece of clothing, towel, fabric, etc. Place it all in a pile at the foot of the bed. At this point, do not use time sorting the laundry.
- Step #3: Gather items that belong in the room. (2 minutes) This is where your addiction to baskets actually helps your family. Have a few baskets (boxes, buckets, containers, whatever) standing by to help with sorting. With all of the clothing off the floor, you have two new options: things that stay in the room, and things that do not. Again, using the “full hands” (or basket) principle, move through the room picking up everything you can. When they start to fill up, walk around placing the items where they go, or close to it. Items that do not belong in the room (cups, plates, racoons, welding equipment, animal husbandry supplies), get placed just outside the door in a separate basket. They can be dealt with later. Taking them to their proper home now will prevent you from getting this room clean anytime in the foreseeable EVER.
- Step #4: Get rid of the garbage (2 minutes) Set the can in the middle of the room and quickly toss everything that doesn’t belong into it. Of course, you will likely still need to vacuum. The result of picking up all that is left on the floor creates a magical environment.This room is now officially 99% clean.
- Step #5: Separate the clothing (2 minutes) The clothing in the pile is clean or dirty. Separate this pile into two, making sure to inspect each garment to verify it does not have any spots, stains, or “crime scene evidence” tags. In some cases, it may be necessary to employ the sniff test, but a quick visual inspection for children is not out of the question.
- You are done!
Getting kids to pick up toys and belongings doesn’t have to be a daily struggle. These quick guidelines will help you get closer to a neater house and more harmonious play.
- Only keep toys or things that are thought-provoking: dress-up, blocks, legos, etc. Kids love them and they are good for varying ages: blocks to a baby are totally different to blocks to a five-year old and they will keep playing with the same toys in different ways.
- Choose containers suitable for your child to manipulate. A lot of products out there are for parents to manipulate. Look at your kid’s school if you need a model: things are on low shelves, they are easy to handle for kids, if a kid can’t lift or pick up the bin themselves they won’t clean up or play with it. It’s also easier without lids on them.
- Don’t give too many choices. Kids are a lot more capable then you think: if you observe them at their school they are taking things out on their own and cleaning them up afterwards. You will be surprised what they can accomplish in a structured environment.
If your toy room look cluttered and chaotic, then it looks like that for the kids.
- Another old school rule: if you want to play with something else, you have to first put away what you are playing with.
Kids ages 5 and up are ready to give you a hand with simpler jobs, but before you turn your child loose, have a quick chat about sorting. Explain that lights go together and are usually washed in warm water. Dark clothes and colors are usually washed in cold, and only totally white things can be bleached.
- Your child can check pockets for change or tissues and close up zippers. A younger kid can sort by color, add dryer sheets, match socks, and clean out dryer lint — which they will probably get a big kick out of.
- Teach your child to fold by starting with easy shapes like towels and washcloths. Older kids can pour in the detergent, fold all types of clothes, and put laundry away. You’ll conquer that mountain of dirty clothes, spend time together, and teach your child a super-useful life skill.
Washing dishes seems like a never ending chore. Children who are trained properly can be a big help at getting dishes clean. Whether you are teaching your children to use a dishwasher or wash dishes by hand, the best way to start is with scraping and rinsing. Even 5-6 year old’s can be taught how to scrape and rinse their plates. 7-8 year old’s can help with drying and putting away dishes. By age 9 kids are ready to learn how to wash different types of dishes or load a dishwasher. Be sure to teach safety principles. like how to set the knives aside instead of dumping them into hot soapy water where they would be impossible to see.
It’s best to start with good organizing habits! Limit Keepsakes. Some children let go of things easily, but for those who are stubborn about saving every little thing, offer up a “limiting container.” They can keep all of the keepsakes they want, as long as they fit in a certain box, or on a certain shelf. Teach the “One In, One Out” Rule. When you get a new toy or new jeans, the old ones can be donated. Kids need to understand that storage is finite, and that continuing to collect eventually leads to clutter and chaos. You could use something like storefreindly.com.sg to store larger items that you don’t have room for in your house, but when it comes to toys and clothes, it’s good for kids to learn that they can’t keep everything.
Give Every Item a Home : Labeling containers can help kids understand where their things belong, and smaller kids can benefit from having picture labels along with words. When kids ask you to find something, point out to them that you know where it is because it has a home. That’s why we have to put things back after using them, so we can find them again!
- Categorize Everything : When I was growing up, most of us learned the Sesame Street song, “One of These Things is Not Like the Other.” Four objects were presented: Three had a common theme, and the other item did not belong. By the time you’d finished the song, you had chosen which one didn’t belong. Look for opportunities, like this one, to teach categorizing to kids, as it is a crucial skill in sorting and organizing.
- Use Lists : You can make packing lists for kids when you are going on a trip, or have them help you make shopping and to-do lists. Kids love to cross things off and you’re teaching them how to organize their thoughts. Lists can also be helpful for reducing your need to nag when there are several tasks that need to be done.
Remember #cleaningroutines can be Fun! Make it a singing and dancing party.
Crank the tunes and make cleaning a PARTY. Try creating a “Cleaning Tunes” playlist in iTunes full of songs to get the kids energized to move. & Be sure to sing!
Via Clean Mama
Want to teach your kids how to help around the house with daily tasks and chores? Make it fun and easy for them to help out! Clean Mama has the Ultimate Happy HOME Cleaning Routine Plus FREE Printable Checklist.
Love this! She has chore lists for the kids too! Included are a weekly or daily cleaning chart, depending on what works for your family and schedule.
Got some awesome cleaning routines that work for you and your family? Leave a comment below:
Karen & The Cleaning Crew
Organize Your Morning – To streamline morning routines, have outfits pre-chosen and ready to go will keep the morning running smoothly and help you to get out the door on time.
- Put a desk or table in the homework area. Sounds obvious, but many kids like to sprawl across their beds to work on assignments. A desk or table that’s the right height for writing is important – your child is less likely to doze off or get distracted if he’s sitting at a desk. If you haven’t got a desk yet, you should really keep an eye out for well made office furniture.
- Make the space pleasant. If the homework space lends itself to decoration, let your child fix it up with artwork or posters. Pick out colorful pencil holders and other supplies. Homework shouldn’t feel like a chore at this stage, so let your child have fun with his space.
- Keep school supplies on hand. Pencils, pens, erasers, paper, an assignment book or calendar, and a dictionary are must-haves. Other suggestions: index cards, glue, scissors, a thesaurus, a calculator, paper clips, a stapler. Once your child sits down to work, he shouldn’t have to hunt for basic supplies. Looking for something a bit different? WRITEY whiteboard paint will transform any wall into a whiteboard wall. Writing down all those important facts and ‘to-do’ lists will ensure your child stays on task.
Buy a bento Box. Whether it’s a fancy Planet Box, an EasyLunchbox or a regular little Ziplock four-compartment box (available at every grocery store), this sets you up for easy packing. Just put something in each compartment. The variety will give your child more chances to find something he or she likes.
Fill every section with something different. Try to vary the colors and textures if you can. Here’s what you want to include:
Protein: Don’t limit yourself to sandwiches. Think hardboiled eggs, cottage cheese, cheese & crackers, trail mix, edamame, hummus with pita bread, turkey and cheese roll-ups. If you want to go for healthy alternatives in foods such as cottage cheese, you can check out the best cottage cheese for a healthier low sugar and low-fat protein source at goodculture.com.
Veggies: Sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes (technically fruit but who’s counting), small bell peppers with seeds removed…
Fruit: Grapes, strawberries, blueberries, fresh pineapple wedges, melon, banana chips, prunes, dried apricots…
Grains: Mini pretzels, homemade muffins, whole-wheat crackers, mini bagels with jam..
** Rotate each day. Use the same ingredients in different ways a couple times in the week. There’s less waste and more variety. For example: Use salami in a mini bagel sandwich on Monday, on a rollie-pollie on Wednesday and a sandwich on a stick for Friday. Do hardboiled eggs on Tuesday and egg salad on Thursday.
Have a lunch tip to share? Leave it in the comment section below!
Refrigerator Lunch Station
For an easy do it your self morning, have a container of pre-made options to choose from. Kids can quickly grab the items to throw in their lunches when they prepare them themselves in the morning or evening before.
For Lunch More inspiration check out these 20+ School Lunch Ideas the Kids Will Love!
Via Clean My Space
Backpacks or lunch bags super duper sticky? Here are some easy cleaning tips for lunch bags and backpacks, quickly making them as good as new! CLICK HERE!
I don’t know about you, but fun new products always motivate me to do some serious cleaning. Why not get some fun, kid-friendly cleaning products for your little ones?
So how do you build your cleaning kit?
- Start with a bright little bucket or something with a handle.
- To your bucket, add some cleaning cloths ( like old baby washcloths).
- Add a spray bottle filled with plain water.
- A toothbrush, for the deep cleaning.
- And finally, add a colorful apron, because we all like to look good while we clean, right?
Let’s Clean Up!
The best way to inspire kids is to work with their natural, intrinsic drive to be productive, creative, contributors to the household. Kids will feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves.
What back-to-school tips have worked for you? Leave a few tips for others in the comment section below.
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Karen & The Cleaning Crew