10 Ways to Relax with Your Kids

Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world.  It is taxing emotionally, mentally, and physically.  Before I became a stay at home mom, I often wondered what they did all day.  Now I know.  We are stressed out.  All the time.

My husband often tells me to “go relax”.  Relax?  How exactly am I supposed to do that?  I’ve got kids crying, cats meowing, dishes that haven’t been done, a grocery list that still needs to be finished, etc.  Relax is just not in my vocabulary.  My biggest issue was that I was trying to cram relaxation, housework, and marriage time all into that small window between my children’s bedtime and my own.

It took me months to realize that I have got to learn to do things when my kids are awake.  Try as hard as I might, I just can’t do it all when they are in bed.  I’ve had to learn to adapt.  I once had a colleague (whose students were studying animal adaptations) tell his students: adapt or die.  I was dying.  I needed to adapt.

I’ve had to learn how to clean the house with my kids.  How to blog with my kids and how to relax with my kids.  Here are ten ways to relax with your kids (or at the very least work around them while they’re awake):

1. Color.  My daughter loves to color, my son… not so much.  However, I find it incredibly relaxing.  Long before adult color books became popular, I had my own stack of Star Wars color books.  They are meant for kids, but I didn’t (and still don’t) care.  Sit with your kids, get out the crayons, markers, colored pencils, and a stack of books or pages.

2. Read a story.  My four year old has recently discovered a chapter book series that he loves to be read from.  It is one of the best parts of my day, curling up on the couch with him and reading another Geronimo Stilton adventure.  Have your kids pick out a few picture books or a chapter book.  Curl up on the couch or in bed with them and read.

3. Watch a cartoon of your choosing.  Most of the time my kids pick what they want to watch.  Sometimes, though, when Mommy needs a breather, Mommy gets to choose.  Don’t play on your phone.  Don’t blog or do the dishes or try to fold the laundry.  Just take a break and watch the television set.

4. Play outside.  Again, Moms, stop with the multi-tasking.  Put away whatever it is that needs doing and just play with the kids.  If I’m stressed out, we go to a playground where the kids and I can just play.  We sometimes go early in the morning (most moms and their kids don’t arrive until around 10 a.m. or so) so I don’t have to worry about other kids and it just the three of us.

5. Take a walk.  Put your kids in their wagon or on their bikes and go get some fresh air.

6. Have a cup of tea/cocoa.  I only drink tea when I’m sick, but hot cocoa is shockingly soothing.  So long as I’ve taken care of my children’s drinks, I can usually drink a cup in peace.

7. Lock Yourself in the Bathroom.  I’m serious!  I always thought moms were joking about hiding in the bathroom or in a closet and eating a chocolate bar.  Guess what?  They’re not!  I fully admit to hiding in the broom closet on more than occasion so I can eat a handful of skittles in peace.

8. Knit/Crochet/Cross-stitch.  Okay, this is one is going to be 50-50.  Knitting stresses me out, but I can crochet a granny square in my sleep.  Generally, I can do these types of projects while the kids are in the playroom.  They’ll usually wander out to see what I’ve got, lose interest, and head back to play.  My kids are still little, but when they get older I fully intend to teach both of them how to knit and crochet.

9. Yoga.  While doing yoga with the kids isn’t nearly as peaceful as doing it on your own, it is still better than nothing.  Plus, it is entertaining!

10.  Have Quiet Time.  This happens in our house in the afternoon, during my daughter’s nap.  My four-year-old doesn’t nap anymore, so he has what we’ve called quiet time.  He has a few puzzles and books (all independent activities that he doesn’t need me for) that he does while I read a book.  Often times he tries to mimic me and sits on the couch next to me with his nose in a book.  Modeling quiet time is important to making is successful.

Most of these activities also double as quality time with the kids.  Quality time with the kids does not have to be these stressed out, complicated activities.  (Who knew, right?)  What things do you do in your home to relax with your kids?