Do you feel like you’re stuck in a parenting rut? That you seem to have run out of new things to do with your baby or toddler? That you’re bored of the old favourites, but keep going because, well, what else is there to do?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, then you need to try my miracle skin serum. It’s made from the inner left toenail of a rhino’s right hoof, it’s £178.34 for 5ml and it’s about time I stopped talking rubbish and got back to the point of this article. Which is: to bust you out of the parenting rut you’re currently experiencing.
First thing’s first, there’s nothing wrong with being in a parenting rut. I’ve been there on a number of occasions, my friends have been there, my relatives have been there, my colleagues have been there, everyone who has a kid has been there. Some see it as a bad thing, but I view it as an opportunity to have a bit of a refresh. To shake things up. To discover new experiences. And, most importantly, to find new slides that
I’ve yet to go down my son has yet to go down.
But how do you go about getting yourself out of this parenting funk? Happily, there are a number of options and, even more ecstatically, I’ve listed them below.
1. Crowd source (physical)
Do you know who tends to have heard about cool new things to do with kids in your area? People who have kids and live in your area. So… …what are you waiting for? The second I feel like I am beginning to get into a parenting rut is the second I start asking the mums and dads at nursery and in the park whether they’ve been to any good classes/open spaces/museums/exhibits/events/baby raves/big shops with long, step-free escalators recently.
2. Crowd source (virtual)
If the above research draws a blank (or you’re too shy to ask), then all is not lost. There’s this thing called the internet. On it, you will find a plethora of websites, including Facebook, Mumsnet and The DadsNet.
The first of these has loads of parenting groups, some of which are likely to be in your local area, and the final two have forums where parents share tips and information. Sign up to whichever one takes your fancy, write a post explaining your issue and you should be inundated with ideas.
3. Get on a bus
Sometimes parents get fooled into thinking that babies and toddlers are tough to please. They’re not. And if you want proof of this, take your kid(s) to the nearest bus stop and get on the first double or single-decker that draws up. To where? Who cares? The destination isn’t important. What’s important is that you and your little one(s) are going on a rut-breaking, kid-wowing adventure.
4. Too much TV? Use your imagination
When it comes to entertaining my son at home, I have been calling on the TV far too much over the last few months. The bad news is this is an easy rut to fall into. The good news is it’s also an easy one to climb out of. How? Three words. Use your imagination. It’s an incredible, and free, tool that can turn your living room into an airport, your garden into an assault course, your bedroom into a theatre, your bathroom into a slime factory, your kitchen into a bakery or your dining table into a crazy crafts zone.
5. Swap jobs with your partner
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about an actual job swap with your partner (note: at one point I did try, but due to their “rules and regulations and my “complete lack of qualifications” the NHS refused to let me work as a doctor). I’m talking about you taking your kid to gymnastics and your partner taking them to football, you doing breakfast and your partner doing bath time, you taking Friday afternoons and your partner taking Saturday mornings. I could go on, but hopefully you get the picture. Sometimes the best way of shaking up a rut-inducing routine is to change the parent present rather than the routine itself.
6. Ask your kid what he or she wants to do
Granted, handing over activity-planning responsibility to a pre-schooler is a high-risk strategy that could end with you doing cartwheels in a supermarket. But it could also yield some parent-kid bonding gold. Like? Going to the local library, taking a train to the nearest town and back, having your ouchie teeth assessed by a wannabe dentist, watching planes take off from your local airport, playing hide and seek, or kicking a football against the fence at the back of your garden.
7. Call on Father Hood
No, this isn’t an invitation to knock on my door at any time of the day or night (although FYI: we’re usually up between 1.30am and 3.27am). It’s an invitation to have a gander at the brilliant baby and toddler games that I have listed on my website. You know, stuff like: toilet roll tower smash, toddler parkour, crayon bowling, the alternative ice bucket challenge, milk capsule tower building and toy car races. And if those titles don’t get you to click on those links, I really don’t know what will.
Got all that? Great, then get off your backside, try a few of my suggestions, smash yourself out of your parenting rut and let all be well with the world again.
Until next time…