"Mom, I'm huuuunnnngrrryyyyy" These words are my constant companion, my constant plague, my constant dread! Someone first entering my home would think I starve my children, but in fact, all I do is prepare food for them and clean up afterwards. And just when I am sitting down to enjoy a nice hot cup of joe, I hear the dreaded sound of pounding feet approaching begging, whining, demanding MORE food! What does this have to do with the article title? I will tell you, the reason that my children constantly demand food is that they suffer from the same epidemic that most of North America suffers from, boredom induced munching. My kids are BORED! It may come in the form of whining for food, but in reality they are begging to do something other than watch TV or watch mommy sip her coffee and sit at her computer. So.... how do we help our children not gain unhealthy eating habits and at the same time stimulate them?
We get off our butts and give them something to do! If this has your attention, read on for some practical ideas to keep your little one occupied this winter.
1. Coloring: keep some special coloring books and set them aside for whiny times like making supper. The kids are so excited to have a new book and you will be excited to have a moment of peace!
2. Playdough: this is the age of creativity. Beware! Playdough makes a mess, but it is often a small price to pay to have a few free moments. Try making your own by mixing
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tbspn cooking oil
1 tbsp cream of tartar
1 cup boiling water
This is a no cook recipe, so just mix it with boiling water and add a few drops of food coloring. The kids love playing with it when it is nice and warm and it only takes a few minutes to throw together.
3. Move your outside toys in: we have an outside play set with a slide and tunnel and little playhouse, every winter we wash it up and bring it inside to the recroom. It is big, it is bulky, but the kids are happy to have something to do and sometimes it will get them climbing the slide instead of the walls ;)
4. Get down and dirty: PLAY with your kids! Often this is the biggest thing, and the simplest, but so easy to forget. Just 10 minutes of play and attention and my kids will be happy for an hour. They need to know that once in a while I turn off the computer and play with them, pretend to be an animal, stimulate their imagination, set up the chairs in the living room and pull out all their plastic animals, make an "animal train" and tell them that they are the conductor. Incorporate their favorite TV shows, like "Dinosaur Train" or pretend to rescue animals "just like Diego". You will satisfy your child's love for their favorite characters, give them personal attention, and help stimulate their creativity and imagination. Just START the game and watch them finish it. Once you get them going they will keep it there long after you leave and you will feel like a queen/king for participating with your child! Trust me, you can have fun as an adult too ;)
Our kids are going to drive us nuts, and going outside when it is wet and slushy and freezing is not always fun nor practical. So use your imagination, find something to do with them, teach them something new, read books together, run around the house, whatever. And who knows, you might find that you are having fun in the process rather than just being annoyed at their whining :)
Good luck and happy winter!