This week I worked on active engagement. It was easier to do with four extra littles for a few days. That pretty much demands constant engagement.
For me, the hard part wasn’t planning the activity but the sitting and DOING WITH. The engagement.
Melty beads were popular this week. You know, the tiny plastic circles that are put on a tray and then ironed together under waxed paper. We have in our collection a fish, dolphin, octopus, heart, square, and freestyle board.
I got them out, and various children would randomly stop by the dining room table and start creating. That was fine. It was the Can you do this with me? that offered up a challenge. Doing with means sitting by and sitting by means not doing a whole host of other things. Like dishes and laundry and organizing and writing. Do you know how many shades of blue beads are NOT true dolphin blue?
I had a lot of people to do things with. A lot of things to do.
There were babydolls to get out, melty beads to iron, laundry to push through the machine, snacks to prepare, outside play to supervise. Do you know that when you are supervising bubbles and sidewalk chalk and doll stroller pushing outside, you are not getting things accomplished inside?
Active engagement this week looked like a walk to and from the library for books, a trip to the children’s museum with a picnic lunch, playing a game of Life, filling water balloons (the ultimate Genesis 3 toy…you spend hours filling them and tying them off, seconds throwing them around the yard at each other, hours picking up bits of water balloon), reading lots of stories, answering lots of questions, and actively trying not to stress about all that was NOT getting done.
Active engagement helped to head off much conflict at the pass. It kept situations from escalating and allowed small voices to be heard. It made breakfast more appealing, because the eggs were cracked and scrambled by a little helper. It made things messy.
For some of you this is obvious stuff. For me it is hard. Somehow, people see that I have lots of children and think that I can naturally do it all. But I can’t. And I struggle to be around them.
Working on active engagement has helped me to recognize which mommy muscle group to exercise this week…the children coming alongside to help me and learn tasks one. How shall I put it? Training little helpers.
This week I will actively engage my little helpers in picking up after themselves, helping me with the laundry, working with me in the kitchen, etc… If I am to stop to help them with things, I need them to help me, too.
I would much rather fold the laundry myself, as you will read about tomorrow.
What do you plan to work on this week? Do you have any workout tips for me? Comments are open, and I would love to hear from other moms whose mommy muscles are more toned in this area!