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.