Self-Entertainment and Settling In

We've had a long run of fun events and I am reminded once again, of what "settling in" means to me and the kids and what I need to do to make that happen.  I've heard too many requests lately to watch TV or invite a friend over or go to a friend's house.  They have grown accustomed to being entertained, instead of finding their own entertainment.

Today I started to clean out the craft/homework area, (long overdue, plus school supplies are out and I freshened our markers and crayons) and moved into the family room to simplify things a bit.  Boy I used to be good at this-I could pitch things, put them in the Goodwill bin, move them upstairs into the "holding area" (otherwise known as linen closet repurposed into toy cabinet) with ease.  Now I find myself getting stuck by sentimentalism in a major paralyzing way.  For instance, Patrick doesn't play with his "guys" anymore.  That hurts my heart, because I won't have any other little boys to hand those guys down to and he's growing up so quickly.  I won't/can't/don't part with them, he doesn't want to either. We moved them up in his drawer under his bed.

When it comes to having kids who can entertain themselves, sometimes all it takes is a stern "quiet day" rule (nothing going on today, don't ask) and for me to sit down and re-engage them in activities. If I sit and draw with them, start them out on little things like this whatever it is, I reawaken the interest.  This takes:

1. having things organized and accessible to them.
2. simplifying their things so they aren't overwhelmed.
3. a little instruction or just sitting with them and playing along.

Janey had too many toys out, and when I moved a lot of things up to a high shelf in her closet (they will feel new when I switch them out in a few months), and I set up a little area with just three dolls and a basket of clothes, one purse and a backpack she played for hours with them.  I am on to her kitchen area to weed out there.

All of these things, (except the deep sentimental feelings which make me want to bawl), help me feel more settled also.  I know what we have in our home, I can easily help straighten the family areas (or do it myself, which is most likely the case), it looks visually appealing to me and I can reconnect with the kids.  I have learned this about myself and my kids over the years-we need this pull-back time, and need to take the time to settle in and reestablish some semblance of order.


  1. Great post, and I love the quiet day rule. Something to think about how to implement into my family. I always feel the mothering part of my brain "settling in" whenever I read your posts. It's a great feeling, thank you.

  2. Always love when you post. I had the same with our boys "guys". I did not want to give them away and I am SO glad I didn't. Now...we use them for our little grand boy. It makes them even more special seeing our grand boy play with the SAME "guys" his daddy played with. Keep them....you will be so glad you did down the road.
    Oh, could you do an update on Janey? Miss hearing about her and seeing her picture.
    Have a blessed day,

  3. I love this. It can be so easy to just turn on the tv but the extra effort I believe I'm making in getting them to play, read, create will be worth it. Side note: I was a fifth grade teacher before staying home with my kids. I used to tell this to the parents regarding reading. Start the book by reading aloud with them. It almost always worked and got my students reading good literature rather than the junk they were drawn too. The parents always admitted they never thought of reading aloud to their big kids but were glad they did.

    1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful idea! I read aloud to my older kids a LOT, but it had never occurred to me to read the first chapter or two and then hand it over! This will be a great way to layer in some new books for my oldest this summer.

  4. There will always be someone else to hand down the toys to - think of the grandchildren in a few years! What if any, of Abbey's dolls or toys did you keep that Janey is now enjoying?

  5. You are such an inspiration, Sara! Thank you so much for writing this post.

  6. There are some special toys that should never be given away. For me it's the cars movie cars and thomas the trains. I've saved them for me. They will always make me smile and let me reminisce:)

  7. Yes! Thank you for this post, it was just what I needed! We have had a few days at home in between vacations. I've noticed we're all feeling unsettled and always sort of "searching' instead of engaging. Though I'm excited for our next little adventure I'm already looking forward to returning home and settling in before school begins again. You have eased my heart.

  8. Yes, save those "guys". My grandchildren, boys and girls, love to play with the ones I saved that belonged to their parents. Love your inspiring blog.