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?
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!
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…
For more posts on motherhood, read:
- 5 Tips to Slow Down and Be Present With Your Kids
- Tips for First Time Moms
- Teach Your Kids the Fruit of the Spirit with this Summer Study
- Make Cleaning Fun with These Chore Ideas
- Raising Your Kids on Hope Through Positive Parenting
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