Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Lazy Parents Guide to Rough Housing With Your Children

Rob and I were talking last night, and we decided that after over 12 years of parenting there had been some lessons we had learned and wanted to pass on to other parents in hopes of lightening their load.

First of all, all children love to rough house. In fact they need to rough house, especially in winter. So here are 3 games that we created that facilitate the much needed aerobic activity and relational attachment that comes from wrestling with your children.

1) The Mummy
This simple game is based on the old monster movies. You follow your kids around the house, arms outstretched, slowly moving one foot and then the other. The slow speed is necessary in order to really mimic a mummy (or Frankenstein's monster). You never actually catch a kid because you are moving incredibly slowly, and they are running around. But just like the people in the old monster movies, it doesn't occur to them that they can easily outrun "the mummy" and they have a blast while you don't break a sweat.

2) The Tickle Monster
This one was invented by Rob. You lay in one spot, say a couch, and the kids run up to you and you catch them and tickle them. Genius! You don't even have to sit up! Also, if you play this while listening to music, you can have the Tickle Monster "rest" for alternating songs. Of course, the kids don't realize that there's no "chase" to this game, because the "monster" is always relaxing. So, they just continue to run up and get tickled while, again, you don't break a sweat.

3) Hide and Seek
This classic has obvious applications to the parent who doesn't want to overexert themselves. You can offer to the be the counter.... 1,2,3,4,5....pick up a book.... or you can hide in a spot where they won't ever think to look. Again, take a book. Now, this one can back fire because little kids start to cry if they can't find you, and the older kids start to learn your tricks. But, still, you've probably got a good 5-6 year range where these techniques work quite well, and, sometimes, the older kids apply your tricks to the game as well because they're only playing to pacify their really cute little sister who asked them to join.

Here are some short cuts I've come up with:

1) The only real qualification for creating a "pair of socks" is that you have two socks. In fact, if the socks don't match it only adds color to the child's outfit.

2) Always have your kid dress themselves, that way you can just always tell people that they are dressed that way because they dressed themselves, not because you're behind on laundry.

3) Top sheets are useless for kids. They end up wadded up by the foot of the bed under their blanket. Then the child will always look at you with wide innocent eyes as to why the sheet is there and not spread nicely over the entire bed. Yes, you'll think of all the hygienic reasons a top sheet is good, but, my guess is, you'll finally realize it's a losing battle and easier without.

4) LOCK the bathroom door. You deserve the privacy, and they'll still shove notes to you under the door when it's locked.

5) In regards to both the neatness of the bedroom and their bathroom habits: if you can't see it, don't worry about it. Just make sure you teach them how to wash their hands. Then, let it go.

6) If it went through the dishwasher, it's clean (even if your oldest child disagrees), no matter how the dish looks. Honestly, what could possibly live through the temperatures in a dishwasher?

7) Wait to teach them to tell time. Of all the necessary life skills, this one is the best to hold back. Do you really want them to know what time bed time is? Is that really going to work in your favor? Also, once they know how to tell time, they can let you know how late you're running.

8) Teach your children that just because they're curious doesn't mean that you're curious. So, for instance, if they decided to life the dog's tail to see what anatomy is under it, they don't need to share with you exactly what it looks like under your dog's tail.

9) Teach your children to wash hands frequently (see scenario in number 8).

10) Good communication is a must. That way, if they, for instance, decide to burglar-proof your backyard by digging lots of holes in it and then covering the said holes up with sticks and grass, you know that information BEFORE you go out and mow the lawn.

And, now, this epistle must be cut short as I must go up and teach my children how to use the wet vac to clean up dog vomit on the carpet in someone's bedroom.


Mrs. C said...

Actually, we've given up on top sheets long ago for the same reasons. You're going to wash the blanket eventually, right??

PLUS, top sheets can be sewn into cute valances that match your fitted sheet, a big bonus if the sheet is cute and goes with the decor. :]

I need room to get in and out of the bedrooms to put away laundry, but otherwise do pretty much as you said. Every few months or so it's time to look through your stuff and discover amazing items under your bed! We have hardwood floors in the upstairs rooms, so you get to see ALL the dust when you move the bed. Yay!

Amy said...

Ok, this is just hilarious! And it's nice to hear that other parents do this too. I have used quite a few of your tips. Top sheets for instance are not used at our house because, as you pointed out, they are completely useless. And the hide and seek game is a classic in our house too. Personally I like hiding in the bathtub (assuming it's dry) because I can stretch out and read a book while hiding.

screamofcontinuousness said...

oh my word! I love these! Especially the tickle monster.

and lets' face it. If they have to write notes to shove under the bathroom door, then they ARE practicing their writing skills. This is a good thing.