I’m an introvert. There, I said it. Maybe you can identify? For us introverts (and probably even a lot of extroverts) sometimes those long days of summer where all the kids are home can seem more like an eternity.
One of the most life-giving things that I have done as an introvert mother is to find activities to do together that bring us both life. Introverts tend to gravitate towards certain hobbies then go very deeply into them, and one of the best ways to connect with our kids is to share our hobbies with them! But in order for these joint activities to bring me life, they have to feel natural. If it takes me 4 days to scrape materials together for an activity, I’m more likely to dread it than enjoy the time with my children.
The key to enjoying joint activities is in the preparation.
If I set up my home in a way that makes the activities flow naturally in my life, I am more likely to truly enjoy spending that time with my children.
What follows are a few examples of ways you could set up your home at the beginning of the summer to make connection between you and your boys feel much more natural!
- The crafting home
Do you love crafting, painting, and colouring? I have a china cabinet in my home that holds zero china. Instead, it is filled with all manner of craft supplies. My boys know they are always allowed to make a craft, and I often find myself sitting down with them because I enjoy beading or painting as well. People often ask if I’m a homeschool mom when they see my “craft cabinet”, but really it’s more for my sanity than anything else! Even if I’m not directly working with the boys, they are crafting in the kitchen, which is where I’m likely to be as well. Parallel play (or work) may not be as intense as face-to-face, but it is still connection.
- The building home
My husband had a genius idea a while back – he set up our basement with a small tool box, some nails, and some soft wood. My boys (age 5 and 8) have spent many happy hours building things, and my husband has even built a few simple projects with them, because it’s easy to join in when the supplies are there and it’s something you enjoy!
- The gaming home
Do you love board games? Try hauling the games out of the basement cupboard and put them somewhere accessible for the summer.
- The science home
I have an unused science degree and sometimes my inner science nerd comes out and stays awhile. I like to keep the supplies for basic science experiments in my home. Kits like the magnet and electronic ones from Scholastic are nice, but basic supplies like baking soda, vinegar, and food colouring can go a long way toward some mutual chemistry fun!
- The baking home
Do you love to bake with your kids? Try stocking up your kitchen with all baking essentials at the start of the summer, so when you’re ready for some focused time with your kids, you don’t have to run out to the store for baking soda! (Although you might still have to buy some if you used it all up on a volcano…)
- The gardening home
If you spend a lot of time outside gardening in the summer, why not invite your children into it? They may not stay for long, but pulling weeds and picking berries together can be a great time to connect with each other. I find that boys open up more when their hands are busy, and this way I can get my work done while getting in some quality son time as well.
- The reading home
Do you tire of reading the same simple books over and over to your children? Don’t underestimate the power of a complex story in a child’s life. Choose some books you enjoyed as an child, and spend time reading them aloud. And if your kids are a bit squirrelly like mine remember that they don’t have to sit still to be listening! My boys like to play Lego or make crafts while I read.(PS Right now all subscribers to my weekly e-letter get 3 free read-aloud stories that will also start up faith conversations. Click over if you’d like to snag your copy!)
What ideas do you have for setting up quality time with your boys in a way that brings life to you as well? Please share with our readers in the comments!
For further reading on staying sane as an introverted parent, check out the following post: