This has been a really interesting winter – and by interesting I mean, please help me, I can’t take another day stuck in this house with my children! When I was a kid, we loved snow days because we could actually go enjoy the snow but it’s so cold, we can’t go farther than the mailbox before we lose feelings in our fingers. I love my kids but one more day, I will find a way to literally climb the walls. Any suggestions on keeping my sanity?
I was going to call Gigi on this but I knew it would simply lower my self-worth to a level that would interfere with my functioning as a human so I reached into the resources and pulled one from the files. I wrote this when I was housebound due to the fires in Los Angeles and air quality kept us all indoors for a series of days. I hope you find something helpful here. Good luck.
(excerpt from Supermom Breaks a Nail)
What to do when you are stuck inside with your kids all day
We have all had those days when we have to keep the kids inside – Rainy Days, SMOG alert days, sick days, they INSIST on wearing that outfit days, etc. On a few occasions, this “day” turns into “days.” Sometimes, around Day 5 of imprisonment inside play, you need to rely on your imagination for fun things to do and interesting interactive play.
I thought I would write down some of my ideas that have gone over pretty well in these situations – in case you ever need something to do with the kiddies on an “Inside Day”
10 Things to Do With Your Kids on an “Inside Day”:
1) “Find the Kid’s Favorite TV Program” – This is one of the easier games. Simply pop the kids in front of the TV, give them bowls of popcorn and chocolate milk and fire up the remote. To supervise, all you need is a book of your own and something cool to drink. (Rule of thumb, is chilled white in the morning, rose for the afternoon and vodka/gin should be reserved for 5 o’clock – or about the time “Zack and Cody” come on the Disney channel.) Read your book and when your children start wrestling or throwing food, just change the channel! It’s that easy…and you don’t even have to look up from your book. There is no reason Suze Ormond can’t speak to your little ones – let them do the taxes next year.
*here’s the trick, when the channel changes, the kids are so hopeful they will be entertained, they are quiet for a good 15 minutes to check out this new show. That should get you well into your next chapter, at least.
2) Read to your child – Everyone knows how important reading to a child is. Those little minds are like sponges, thirsting for knowledge. So let them have it. “But how do I keep from cutting my tongue out if I have to see those damn Dogs Go one more time?” you ask? Easy – read to them from YOUR book! You will open up all new worlds to them – ones of time travel and Days of Yore. Times when all women were unquestionably beautiful and men had rippling biceps as well as curling black hair on their structured chests. Teach them about love and how it happens to even the most headstrong daughter of a decent but wrongly accused patriarch whose death/reputation said daughter must exonerate. Let your children know that under even the most bitter man’s rock solid chest beats a warm and loving heart that is not known to most. Careful though, sometimes the language can get a bit complex. This is where your imagination comes into play. Substitute words for heaving bosoms and succulent nipples with things like “Powder puffs” and “grape popsicles”. Fondling and sucking are expected in these incidents. Hardened parts of the male anatomy can be called rocket ships that explode into space. The children will be captivated. Use different voices. Make some of the characters familiar like referring to the evil stepmother who is trying to do away with the heroine as “Grandma” and the horrid militia trying to lynch the hero as “Tree Hugging, Misguided Liberals”. Fun for all.
3) Have the kids assemble your long ignored scrapbooks – They need to get done – your kids need a craft. Load up the table with the thousands of pictures and some glue and anything they can put the pictures in. Not using that Gideon’s Bible you stole? Have them pop your wedding photos in Leviticus. War and Peace getting you down? The kiddies can turn it into War and Our First Family Christmas. Who cares if they get the order out of whack – you won’t look at them until you are drunk anyway.
4) Play “What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?” – I write a variety of professions down on sheets of paper and put them in a hat. Then I let the kids pull out the sheets one by one and they get to act out the profession. I feel very strongly that every lesson should be one that prepares the children for the real world. To do this, I insist the children use real life props and act out the profession as accurately as possible. Here are the professions we use in our game, feel free to make up your own: Bartender, Masseuse who specializes in Mommy’s Shoulders, Person Who Orders Take Out a lot, Housecleaner, Very Quiet Person, Talks to the Telemarketer Person and Pharmacist.
5) “What Does That Pill Do?” Game – This is an offshoot from when my kids practiced pharmacist from the above suggestion. You have your bundles of joy go to the medicine cabinet and pull out anything in a bottle that has Mommy or Daddy’s name on it. Line them up and have them serve you a pill from each bottle – one at a time – and note Mommy’s reaction to the pill. Does it make Mommy laugh a lot? That gets labeled the Happy Pills. Does Mommy go to sleep after she takes the pill? Call that one Sleep Miser. Does Mommy start smiling and agreeing to let you watch those movies Mommy and Daddy keep on the top shelf while you eat cake frosting from the container – all the while, telling you how much she loves you and calling Daddy to say she loves him too, despite what she said last night? – let’s write those down as the Perfect Pills.
6) “Where’s Mommy?” – Pretty much hide and seek but I have made a couple of modifications: I tell the children they must stay perfectly still until the stove timer goes off (set for 15 minutes or more). I mention that if they do not, that ax wielding creature that inhabits their closet at night will come out and find them. Also, I can suggest a few places you had not thought of: a) the crawl space above or below your house, the one you cannot access without a key or ladder. b) The neighbors’ patio, if it is fully shielded from your yard and they are not home. C) The mall. And lastly d), the floor of their room – since they cannot see the toys or clothes there, how will they see you?
7) “List the Reasons Daddy Does Not Deserve Mommy As He Sits In His Air-Conditioned Office With No Children” – This one takes a bit more effort on your part as the children tend to need a lot of help with the reasons. After you have carefully listed them out (you may need to write the reasons yourself), have the kids decorate the sheets with stamps and banana peel stickers and the jam stuck to the table from lunch (be very careful that they do not mar the reasons in any way that they cannot be read) and present them to Daddy when he walks in the door after work. If Daddy is late for any reason, have the children throw the sheets at them, possibly anchored with the empty bottle of wine you just polished off.
8) “Try to Guess Why Mommy Won’t Stop Crying?” – Simple guessing game. Be careful, as the children throw out answers, if you can hear them over your uncontrollable sobs, you may be reminded of a few things you hadn’t thought of since breakfast. Leave plenty of time for this game.
9) “Let’s See How Many Websites We Can Visit Until The Credit Card Company Calls Mommy – Again” – All kids should know their way around the internet and a little lesson in commerce serves everyone in life. Bookmark a few of your favorite sites and let the kids at the mouse. Teach them how to match the numbers on the plastic rectangle in their hands to the little box on the screen. As always when your children are on the internet, they should be heavily supervised. If you are not there to watch over them, you may end up with a yard full of plastic balls instead of this season’s scrunch boots, so make sure your glass is full before you sit down – it takes just a minute for a kid to find their way to the Toys R Us website.
10) Lastly, if you absolutely cannot think of another way to preserve your sanity and your children’s lives for one more second, break out the “Fun for Kids” craft books. In there, you will find hundreds upon hundreds of exciting and colorful ideas for crafts and projects that better not only their minds but their hearts. Rip the pages out one by one, ball them up and throw them at the dog. He gets his run for the day and you and the kids work out your throwing arm. Take your wine glass and dump its contents on to a series of pages (don’t worry – most liquor stores deliver). Have the kids shred up the pieces and put the freshly minted papyrus in Daddy’s slack’s pockets – a surprise for later – made with “love”. Take some of the wine soaked paper and teach your kids about spitballs – this should give them a leg up for school. Line up all the photos of near and distant relatives and have some target practice. What’s left, light on fire (might want to have a pitcher of water handy. Best fill it with the stuff from the sink – it is weird how the box of Gallo and the Brita look alike after 5 days inside with the kids). This should teach the kids something about science or nature or home owners insurance – what does it matter, the Weatherman just came on and told you to expect to stay inside again tomorrow.
Thank you to Liz Weiner from Albany, NY for the question. Supermom Breaks a Nail is available at Amazon.com. If you want to shoot the breeze with Supermom, email her at AskSupermom@placedeplume.comor click the button below: