I can't much help her. My kids are younger than hers, so the activities are pretty different. However ... my children have already learned, at such tender young ages, what a very, very bad idea it is to come to me and say, 'Mom, I'm bored!' I simply delight in hearing that phrase. It makes my heart sing. It also makes my house clean. Sometimes, I make them fold laundry. But that ends pretty quickly. They have smaller arms than moi, so one time, I made Sam clean that really gross space between the fridge and the counter. Eww!!
Sometimes, they end up with yard duty. Everything out of the yard! Toys, baseballs, sticks, trucks, etc. They've had to weed the garden before. (Insert evil grin here) One time, I made them clean out all the things they'd thrown in the chicken yard over the previous weeks. You may not know this, but we Stewarts are the
But I'm not always mean. Really. I try to stay on top of things, and when the kids start getting antsy, I give them some help. Sometimes that means stopping what I'm doing and reading with them. If I've got cookie dough chilling in the fridge, like I do this morning, then I'll let them make cookies (I'm the one putting the trays in and out of the oven, of course!) by themselves, which is a really big treat. They do art projects. A stack of construction paper, a pair of scissors, and a glue stick will keep my kids well-occupied for over an hour.
But here's the most important thing I'll say to you this morning: I make sure that my kids are not always entertained. Life is not always entertaining. Sometimes, as adults, they'll be bored, and it's very important to me that my kids know how to pick up a book or sit down with one sheet of paper and one pencil and keep themselves quietly occupied for at least an hour. It's one of the things we practice, come to think of it. But I'm not mean about it. It's something we worked up to, them sitting still with one book and one pencil and one sheet of paper, for a full hour.
But I have to admit, I've got it kind of easy. We've got almost 2.5 acres, and it's really skinny and really long. Only the first half-acre or so has been totally cleared of brush, and we've got paths and small, hidden clearings throughout the rest. The kids each have a walkie-talkie that they have to take with them when they go out there, and I've got one so they can communicate with me. They've been known to leave the house after breakfast, come back around 10 for an apple and some water, and not show back up until lunch. Because they've never been allowed to watch much TV, it's not something they automatically start asking to do.** I've also been known to put a bounty on bugs that eat my tomatoes, so the kids can earn some money if they bring me a jar full of bugs (we count them as we throw them to the chickens).
So, that's what works for me. What do you do to keep your young'ens out of your hair?
**That's a lie. They ask me to watch TV about 27 times each day. But they know that 90% of the time, it just ain't gonna happen, so they're not in the least bit surprised or upset when I tell them, 'NO.' I mean, 'no.' I usually say something like, 'Do you have a fever?' 'Are you bleeding from the head?' 'Did a snake bite you?' 'Is your arm broken?' 'Are you throwing up?' Or something like that. If the answer is 'no,' then they really don't get to watch TV.