Friday, May 25, 2012

Slow Down and Keep it Simple

Last night I went to dinner with a few friends. We talked about camping plans for over the long weekend, upcoming baby showers, preschool events, and sports classes. We also talked about this article my friend had read recently.  

My friend reminded us that when things get crazy in life, we need to slow down and refocus. When we focus on the important things (and neglect the trivial), our priorities get put back into view and we spend time on what really counts.

I have felt like a crazy person this week. My house is a disaster, my brain is completely unorganized, and I feel like I need a week of alone time in my house just so that I can catch up on laundry, sleep, and a gazillion things on my to-do list... in addition to packing for our upcoming camping trip! 

I have not felt like being ultra creative with my kids and would've loved to have locked myself in my bedroom for a nap on several occasions this week. 

Instead of throwing my own pity party, I actually focused on the simple things that are most important to me (my kids, my husband, and my friends) and felt much better! This video by Alissa at Creative with Kids reminded me that Toddlers (and Preschoolers) won't wait for you to have the perfect time to connect... so we need to connect now!

So, how do you connect with your kids when you don't feel like it? When you're tired, grumpy, busy, overwhelmed, etc.?

This is what I do:

1. Clear away the mess- I don't know about you, but I can't create or connect in a mess... so either we go somewhere that's not a mess or we figure out a fun way to clean up together! This was a fun cleaning game we created the other week that helped us have a good time while de-cluttering a bit.

2. Get outside- We bought a water table this week. I can't believe I didn't have one already. On our most exhausting days this week we just went outside and splashed around. The laughing and giggling that ensued was contagious and my grumpy/tired attitude couldn't last long!

3. Read a new book (or two or three)... or an old favorite- Our friends at BabbaCo sent us a kit to review. We'll be sharing all about it next week. In the kit was a fabulous new book! We read it again and again together. We also read My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook at least 2-3 times per day... and my daughter's favorite Dora book too. Cuddling together and enjoying a new (or old) book is probably one of my favorite activities ever!

4. Take a moment and connect with a friend or family member (with your kids)- Yesterday afternoon my dad called me and we chatted for over an hour. My son loves his Grandpa, so he hovered around and participated in the conversation. There is something super special about telling your parents all about how awesome your child is... while they are listening. 

5. Do a favorite activity that you always do... again... and again- My kids will spend all day racing their baby strollers around the house. If I sit and watch them and laugh while they do goofy things like crash into one another or fall over and do somersaults, they'll play happily for even longer. My kids also love to be totally messy... especially at dinner. I try to get mad, but I can't help but laugh. Putting ketchup on her nose never gets boring.

6. Do something nice for someone else... together- Don't you agree that when you look outward, it is easier to feel less selfish and me-focused? We celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week this week at my son's preschool. We made special treats for his teacher, put together a dinner basket for her, made cards, and brought her flowers. Our cards weren't anything special (just markers on cardstock), but I loved the few minutes in the early morning the other day just watching my son write his name so that it would look perfect for his teacher's card. I didn't come up with a fancy project to make an awesome artistic (mom created) card... like I do sometimes and instead we just kept it simple. 

It is definitely fun to be extra creative sometimes... but often it is nice to just keep it simple. 

What are your tips for connecting with your kids when you don't feel like it?

What activities help you slow down and refocus on your priorities?

Are there ways that you could simplify life and slow down... even amid the craziness?


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  1. Love this post. I have felt exactly the same way: I need at least a week to myself to organize and clean and sleep, and start or finish up projects. Thanks for reminding me that not everything has to be perfect and easily it is to get out of a funk and reconnect with your kids!

    1. Thanks Jenner! Glad to hear that I'm not the only one. :)

  2. I put on music that both my toddler son and I enjoy and we dance and sing together. The music puts me in a better mood, and the dancing always makes him giggle.

    1. Great idea Victoria! Music always cheers me up too!

  3. Great post! A few days ago, I was feeling very similar to how you described. My house was a mess, it had been raining here for days, an I was losing my patience with my oldest daughter left and right. I really felt we needed to reconnect, so after nap we read. We read her favorite books, and then we read some more. We curled up in bed and read and read. After that reading session, We both felt reconnected and rejuvenated :)

    1. What a great thing to hear!! Cuddling and reading is such a special thing to do!

  4. Do a dance! We put on a fun song, stop whatever we're doing and dance. Dance around and over the mess if we have to, lol. Once it's over and we've shaken all our sillies out I find it's easier to refocus on what needs to be done. Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Love these ideas Kristina. I'm the same with th clutter - I just can't think straight and as soon as I've cleared it away I'm much less stressed out and can focus more clearly. I love this list of simple ideas. We like to head outside and play with the hose or sit on the grass and read books.

  6. Snuggling up on the couch or my bed with a book or two with my 3 year old or watching my 8 mo old while he nurses always helps me refocus. It always amazes me how the simple ideas, activities, etc always end up the most fun.
    I can't think/focus/FUNCTION! in clutter either so we usually pick up and then move on to something fun (or just go to another room, hehe).

  7. I was feeling a bit like that this weekend. But rather than doing number one, we did number2. I effectively ignored the mess that is my entire house by spending the weekend out side having fun with my son. Felt great. Finally cleared up on Sunday night. Great post, loads of great tips.

  8. We love reading, so that definitely works! We like to play a game (or 7) after dinner with dad after he gets in from work and it makes it more like we have all done something together. We use speaker on the phone to talk to family members for ages! While we were on a caravan holiday last week, we invited my mother in law for a couple of days and that was really special, no jobs, just family time. Love this post. Slowing down definitely a fantastic idea. x


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