Five pledges for autumn

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Every so often I find myself making little promises about things I’m going to do more of, or ways that I’ll do things differently. The likelihood of these good intentions lasting longer than the time it takes a child to scuff their brand new school shoes is probably slim but if I write them down, at least I’ll remember them when they fall to the wayside and decide if I want to scoop any of them back up.

I wrote recently about making the most of my bonus year with the twins, and this is related to that – finding little ways to improve our time together that are easy and achieveable.

I’ve kept it simple with just five pledges (when I start a list it has a habit of growing to epic proportions so that the idea of tacking it becomes too overwhelming and it gets relegated to the bottom of the paperwork pile)…

1. Prepare an activity for the kids the night before, or even a week’s worth of activities in the same way some people (not me unfortunately) meal plan for the week. I’m going to make up a physical folder (how very old-fashioned when Pinterest exists, but sometimes I want to actually flick, not just virtually) and print out activities I think we’d enjoy. As well as crafts, I’ll add ideas for simple science experiments to the folder to make sure there’s enough variety to keep everyone’s interest.

2. Set up invitations to play. I’ve seen images of these on Instagram from Anna at The imagination Tree and they always delight me. Basically a pre-prepared set up of play things/materials for your child to come across and play with any way they’d like. I recently set up a discovery box (again there are loads of ideas for these on the Imagination Tree) and it kept Fonz engaged for an hour, so my aim is to make this a regular activity.

3. Swap TV time for reading. If the kids need some down time during the day (mostly after lunch) I’m often guilty of turning on the TV to get them to sit still and calm down. But the twins absolutely love books and being read to, so I shall try swapping Cbeebies for some time curled up together on the sofa with a book. No, the lunch washing up might not get done until later but I can live with that.

4. Be more imaginative with meals. As I’m sure is common among parents of young children, we’ve got a bit stuck in a rut with the food choices we offer the twins. When your children roundly reject something new that you’ve spent time and effort preparing without giving it even the tiniest taste it’s hard not to feel deflated and give up. But Ez and Fonz seem more open to new foods, and love getting involved in preparing meals so we’ll try to expand our repertoire. Now the twins will be home for all their evening meals (they used to eat three at nursery), we should also eat together as a family whenever we can.

5. Create one-on-one time. At least once a week I’d like to make time just to play with one child on their own. This doesn’t have to be a huge slice of the day, just 20-30 minutes when I do an activity with just one, whether it’s getting them to help preparing the meal, popping to the post office together, or sitting down to play whatever it is they’d like to play with me. This will mean coordinating with Ben so that he had the other child, but I definitely think it’s worth doing.

As a way to try to help these pledges to stick, I’ll follow this post up in a month’s time (I’m a journalist who is only motivated by deadlines, so let’s say the week of the 21 October) with a series of posts about how we’ve done with each pledge.

I’ve just out that date in my calendar so that’s it. No skiving.

A deadline’s a deadline after all…

3 comments to Five pledges for autumn

  • I tried no. 1 for the summer holidays… was kinda hard to do stuff that suits both a 2yr old and a 5yr old (for me – but of course you don’t have that issue) but it generally worked really well. I let Coco flick through the folder herself sometimes and choose what she wanted to do. Mr Printables is a great resource for activities and my friend has/had a blog (messykid.co.uk) which has some good activities, although I’m sure you’re not short of ideas.

  • I love short term goals, they really help me focus. That time after lunch is really hard as you need something quiet and relaxing and I often reached for TV then too.

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