Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Playtime Hearts





I recently had our 4th child, and we also recently moved.
I've been busy and tired and we are trying to find our new rhythm.....
and I'm trying not to lose my marbles. :)

The kids seem to be acting up a little bit more lately, and I've been praying & asking for help and guidance as a Mother.
The answer that keeps coming back to me is to spend more time with my kids.
Because when all is said and done, I know that is what really matters to me.


So I came up with an idea to help make that happen:
PLAYTIME HEARTS.

Here's what I did:

1. I traced heart shapes onto yellow paper and cut them out. They are roughly 2 1/2 inches big. I cut out about 26 hearts.




2. I wrote on each heart a fun activity that I know the kids like to play. 
A lot of these are things they've asked me to play with them in the past......the ones where I have given the all-too-often response of "not now."
I came up with these myself, but it would be fun to sit down with your kids and think of fun things to do together. 


Here's a list of what we've got:

Cars
Airplanes
Legos
Color
Dance
Trains
Super Heroes
Paper Airplanes
Play Library
Wii
Game (3 of these. We have a lot of games)
Soccer Outside
Catch Outside
Ninja Turtles
Mazes
Make no-bake cookies
Little People
*Your Choice (2 of these)

(I also left a few hearts blank so I could add things later that we think of to play).



3. I taped them onto the little chalkboard we have hanging up in our kitchen (You could tape them up anywhere).




4. And from here it's easy! I let the kids take turns picking a heart and we do whatever is on the heart, together. Sometimes there is a time limit (20-30 minutes depending on what's going on that day) and sometimes we just play and I try to just forget the time and focus on my kids. It's been refreshing to remember what it's like to play as a kid. It's good for all of us. :)



Some days are busy and we don't pick any hearts.
Some days are wide open and each of the kids get a chance to pick a heart.
Sometimes it's when my oldest is at school and it's just me and the little ones.
Sometimes it's all of us together as a family, including Daddy.
This week we used one of the hearts as our activity for Family Home Evening.
And sometimes we play without picking a heart at all. :)

When all the hearts have been picked, I'll tape them back up and start again.


This idea was a direct answer to my prayers.
We've done it for the past week, and it has been so much FUN!
It's helped us all in so many ways. The kids seem to not be acting up quite as much. I've noticed so many wonderful qualities in my children when we sit and play together---because I'm actually paying attention to them! Something I needed to be reminded to do.

But most of all it's helped me make the time for what truly matters to me--matters more than anything and everything.

My family.

Monday, September 15, 2014

He is there.



(The Doctrine & Covenants is a book of scripture--The Lord's inspired words through His modern-day prophets. You can learn more HERE & about my faith HERE.)

I love this scripture so much.
No matter where we are in our lives, or what challenges we face, these words are true for us!
God is our loving Father.
He is with us when we are weak and struggling. And even when we're not.
We may not see it, but help is there.
He is there.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bedtime Game



Having the kids tucked soundly in bed at night is a glorious thing.
But bedtime is most definitely NOT my favorite time of the day.

The kids are riled up and hyper, I'm exhausted, and trying to get them all ready for bed seems to take forever.

To help move this notoriously slow-moving routine, I came up with a very simple and fun way to get the kids motivated to get ready for bed.
Here's what I did:

1. I cut out a bunch of squares from red & blue paper. I was originally going to do circles. But squares are so much easier to cut with a handy-dandy paper cutter. Or even just a pair of scissors! :)



2. Next, I started taping them onto the wall in the boys' bedroom, alternating red & blue:



3. I already had this laminated lion picture that I used a couple years ago in our Learning Binder. So I taped him up onto the wall as well. You can use a picture or cutout of anything. And it doesn't have to be laminated.



Here's how it works!
It's really very simple. Each of the kids gets a chance to move the lion along the spaces. They earn their moves by doing the following:

  • Going potty & brushing teeth = 1 move.
  • Putting toys away from the floor = 1 move.
  • Sitting reverently for scriptures and prayer = 1 move.
  • Not getting out of bed once lights are out = 1 move (in the morning).

I want this to be a positive reinforcement type of motivation. So if they don't stay in their bed then they just don't get to move the lion in the morning. If I find that is not working, then I may try moving the lion back a space every time they get out of their bed, we'll see.


When the lion makes his way to the end of all the squares, then the kids earn a lollipop! Since I have 3 kids who are working on this (LM age 7. LB age 4. LL age 2.) it shouldn't take too long to get the lion to the end.