Printable Play Chart for Stay at Home Moms

Use this simple printable play chart as a tool to teach your kids independence as a stay at home mom.

WHY I MADE A PLAY CHART AS A STAY AT HOME MOM

I used to stare at the clock until my husband came home hoping to give me a break from entertaining, disciplining and feeding the kids.

It was miserable.

I felt like I had to micromanage and control my kids all day long so that everyone would be happy. Even if I succeeded (ha!), I was still left exhausted.

My systems of organizing the day and planning activities were just too much, and didn’t allow my kids to be themselves. They were happy with the activities, but I was taking away a key part of their development: learning how to be independent.

Now toddlers don’t need to know how to drive a car yet, but they do need to learn baby steps to independence. For example, what if your preschooler could pick their own activity, get it out and play with it WITHOUT ANY HELP FROM YOU?

Then what if they knew to clean it up before choosing another activity WITHOUT YOU TELLING THEM?

MIC DROP.

So a few years ago, I retired from my project management position (aka mom mania) and instead created a play chart: a chart that presents activities already available in our home in a more organized way.

This play chart has become a GAME CHANGER. The kids take turns picking activities off the chart by covering the next activity with a magnet. I’ve included a mix of independent and group activities, indoor and outdoor.

HOW TO USE THE CHART

I tell the kids to “pick off the chart” when I need time to myself, they are bickering, or I want to be intentional in playing with them. Some days we do three things, some days we do 10. It breaks up the boredom of every day life and keeps some routine and creativity into our day.

The greatest benefit from the chart is that it actually helps with preventing some bad behaviors that occur just from the boredom and monotony of everyday life. After a few times of using the chart, the kids know where the items are, and put the activity away before they choose a new one (that will still take some practice, but with consistency, you’ll get there).

SAMPLE ACTIVITIES FOR YOUR CHART

Here are examples of activities I’ve done with my kids as a stay at home mom over the years using variations of the chart:

A FEW TIPS FOR USING THE CHART

Use this as a tool, not another thing on your to-do list. For example:

  • If the kids are fighting, tell them to each pick something off the chart and play ALONE.
  • If the house is a mess, you can pick CHORES off the chart. Don’t worry, I’ve got ideas for that too!
  • Games and crafts can be independent if you plan ahead. Store each group in a basket where the kids can do them.
  • Be as flexible or rigid as you want to be with the chart to make it work for you!

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Happy Playing!

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Raising Your Kids on Hope Through Positive Parenting

Feeling fearful for your kids? You’re not alone. Turn your worry-filled what-ifs into hope-filled dreams of what your kids can become when you focus on positive parenting by pointing them to Jesus.

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

Positive parenting

WORRYING ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN

A few years ago, I watched my son light up as he realized his friend was in the car in front of us. Usually sluggish, he zipped out of the car, not even looking back for a good-bye hug and ran to meet up with his five year old friend and big brother. “A FIRST GRADER, MOM!”

It was the first week of “real school” and I was already worried. Would he always be safe, smart and make good choices? Of course not.

Here he was, a Kindergartner, and I already worried if he would be a responsible high schooler.

We should have the expectation that our kids will sin. That they will fail…and that will be okay. Because while they’re still in our homes, we can be the guiding light for them. To help them find out who they are, who God wants them to be.

Positive parenting

POSITIVE PARENTING: HOPING FOR THE BEST

A parenting teacher once told me to decide now how I will react if my biggest fears for my children’s choices come true. The point was to be intentional in your responses–not react out of fear, but love.

But for a second, let’s stop going through the list in our minds of all the terrible things that could happen to our children. Instead of what if they get into a car wreck/do drugs/get pregnant (or whatever torture your mind is putting you through), what if we started to believe the best could happen to our children?

What if I raise a child who becomes a leader among their peers and influences them to make better choices?

What if they become a missionary or head up a charity for kids?

What if they’re destined for something so great, I can’t even imagine it?

What would it hurt to start believing the best and letting go of the rest?

It’s been proven that when you practice positive self-talk, you are more likely to reach your goals, become more confident and succeed in your job. Flip the switch and become aware of what you believe about your children. Practice more positive parenting by telling them these things.

Positive parenting

TELL THEM YOUR HOPES

Here are a few hopeful things to say to your children:

  • You are brave and bold and I am proud of you. You will be a great leader one day.
  • You have a strong heart for others. I see you making a difference to many when you get older.
  • I am so excited to watch you grow. You are going to do great things.
  • I love how much you trust in the Lord. That is such a good lesson you’re already learning that you will use as you get older.
  • Jesus sees how you help your brother all the time. He is so proud of you and loves you so much.

POINTING THEM BACK TO JESUS

What positive parenting habits are you implementing in your household that help your children direct their actions into ones you are raising them to follow?

Here are a few easy ways to create “holy habits” in your household all year long:

  • Pray before dinner
  • Have your kids start a prayer journal
  • They have to say 3 nice things about their sibling if they’re fighting
  • Learn about and practice the Fruit of the Spirit
  • Let them pick out their own personal Bible and read it before school
  • Worship together on Sundays
  • Thank God for 3 things on the way to school
  • Listen to praise music when they’re getting ready in the morning

And finally, be open and honest with your kids. If you want them to come to you about the big things later in life, you have to be available. Another great option is to surround yourself with Christian families and mentors your children feel comfortable going to as well, such as a relative, coach, minister, or family friend at church.

Ultimately it comes down to trust, and we need to remember that we are not alone when it comes to parenting our kids. God is with us and he knows our children better than we do. Pray for them daily, model the fruit of the spirit, and learn to be more of a listener than a lecturer.

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Want to have your kids learn the Fruit of the Spirit or memorize verses throughout the year to refer to? I’ve created a Fruit of the Spirit Workbook with 10 weeks of lessons covering love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. You can order it here:

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You are doing great mama. You’ve got this!

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Celebrate the 4th of July as a Family This Year

Be intentional in celebrating the holidays this year by creating a 4th of July itinerary for food, family and fun! 

*This post contains affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure for details.

CELEBRATING THE 4TH OF JULY

What a year.

I have never lived through a more intense year politically than 2020. But I still love this country. There are some things we could do better (ok a lot!), but every day I wake up in a country where I am free. I can be a Christian without persecution. I can be a woman who can vote and work or stay home with my kids.

It seems like our country is a mess sometimes, but the truth is, the world is a mess! We were never meant to live in conflict, and I believe as Christians we are called to be peacemakers and show the world what a little bit of heaven on earth looks like.

Thank the Lord we can worship him freely in this country of ours! We may be broken, but we are not without hope. Let’s celebrate what it means to be blessed to be an American this year.

IDEAS FOR YOUR 4TH OF JULY

Here are a few fun ideas to create a holiday your family can celebrate together!

1. Play in the Water

You may not have a pool, but finding a way to cool off in the summer is a must! Here are a few of our favorite ways:

  • Buy a blow up pool
  • Have a water balloon fight (Have you seen these new ones? They are SO much easier than what we had when I was little)
  • Have a water gun fight
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • Have the littles play with a water table
  • Install a misting cooling system (we’ve talked about buying one of these this summer)

2. Eat American Food

Think barbecue this 4th of July. What can you throw on the grill for dad to cook? Here are few ideas:

  • Hotdogs and hamburgers
  • Steaks
  • Shish-kabobs
  • Brisket
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Don’t forget sides and desserts!

3. Wear Red, White and Blue

We always love a good dress up day! Old Navy never disappoints with their 4th of July t-shirts, so this year we’ll have to grab a few!

4. Make an American Flag Craft

Just a quick search on Pinterest and you’ll have more than enough ideas to keep the kids busy! Here’s what I’ve found.

5. Play “America Land”

Download my “America Land” board game for a fun family activity! Use coins for playing pieces and a dice to roll.

6. Say the Pledge and Sing the National Anthem

If your kids don’t know this yet, it’s a great lesson to teach before school starts! Here are some YouTube videos on the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner.

7. Watch Fireworks

Some of my favorite memories as a kid were going to the local high school to watch the fireworks show. If you can shoot fireworks in your neighborhood, we love sparklers and the fireworks that stay on the ground. Ask for suggestions at your local fireworks stand.

8. Listen to Patriotic Music

Every party’s more fun with a good soundtrack! Make sure to blast some good old fashioned American tunes. Here’s a playlist I found on Spotify: 4th of July BBQ

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Happy 4th of July!

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