How to Entertain Kids At Home
May 23, 2020
Guess what? It's not really your job to entertain your kids.
You are responsible for keeping them safe and healthy. You need to care for their needs emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. You need to guide them and discipline them.
But you do not need to entertain them.
Here are some ideas for guiding them on spending their time well:
Set up Daily Household or Personal Chores
for them to do that are age appropriate and easily accomplished in a 15-30 minute time frame. Here are a few examples:
- making their beds
- brushing teeth
- emptying the trash
- emptying/loading the dishwasher
- picking up their rooms
- here's a link for more ideas: Age Appropriate Chores
Set up a routine for Seasonal Tasks for after personal chores are done.
This is what I mean:
- During the school year, all school aged kids have school work to do, whether from a homeschool model or traditional going to school model, or distance learning model. Help them get set up so they know what to do and in what time frame to do it. Make a schedule and print it so everyone knows when a parent is available to help which kids. Also, in our house, we had to get math done before lunch, or I didn't have the mental energy to tackle it! Put a time frame on the work that they need to do.
- During school vacations, (and actually all year round,) all kids can benefit from some non-school-ish education that they don't even realize is good for them. Gardening, caring for animals, cooking, sewing, learning about cars, building things, creating art, music lessons, swimming lessons, some sports, or any life-skill that doesn't fit into the school curriculum fits in here.
- Some of these tasks can be quantified and done at a certain time each day. For example, you can set up a specific time for 30 minutes of daily piano practice or 15 minutes of daily weeding the garden.
- Some of these tasks are more easily done in summer, like outdoor swimming lessons if you live in an area that gets cold in winter!
- 4-H was a great way for our kids to learn some skills in the summer that we didn't have time to learn during the school year, and there are many categories so kids can try out lots of things and find out what really interests them.
At certain times of day, read aloud to them. Maybe before bed or after lunch if that is when you are available.
Make a list of Free Time Activities for them to choose to do independently when their other work is finished.
This is where they learn it is their own responsibility to use their time well, and you are not responsible for entertaining them. Here are a few examples:
- Read a good book or listen to an audiobook (You can encourage a reluctant reader by reading the first part of a high interest book, then telling them to keep reading during free time.)
- Draw or paint something (My ideas here: Setting up Creative Invitations)
- Build something using building blocks, Legos, popsicle sticks and glue, cereal boxes, etc.
- Play with your siblings or by yourself (rotate toys)
- Write a story and illustrate it
- Perform a puppet show. Make puppets out of socks or brown bags.
- Make yarn people
- Clean out a drawer
- Sew something or make something with beads, string, pipe cleaners, buttons
- Go outside and sketch something you see, or rub crayons over leaves, or draw with sidewalk chalk
I hope these ideas encourage you and inspire you to help your kids learn to spend their own time in ways that help them.