Habit Training – Occupying Yourself

Do you ever feel like a cruise director in your home?  Me too.  I don’t know about you, but with three kiddos in the house now, among various other home and church duties, I don’t have time to stand on “deck” with my clip board in hand passing out brochures of the latest and greatest activities that will be taking place on the “ship” this afternoon.  In fact, it’s about all I can do anymore to get school lessons planned, prepared and taught each day!

So, one of the habits I’m diligently trying to train into my children is the ability to occupy themselves.  It’s partly my fault they aren’t very good at it because I *did* direct most of their activities for years.  “Let’s play this.”  “Let’s make that.”  “Let’s go here.”  “Let’s read this.”  Yep, when my children were younger and I didn’t have quite the amount of responsibility I have now, I enjoyed being the cruise director of the house.  That and the fact that all my children are naturally very active and inquisitive make for kids who expect mom to keep them busy.

Truth be told, I’ve been working on training the habit of occupying self for quite a while now, but habits are hard to break.  I suppose I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.  Mahayla, who is eleven, is very capable of keeping herself busy during the down times of the day – finally.  And Caleb, who is eight, can keep himself busy if the t.v. stays off!  He much prefers to have someone to do something with (aka mom, dad or sister), but will play by himself if given no other option.

Some things I’ve done in the past and/or am doing now to train them to occupy themselves are:

  • learning centers
  • quiet, alone times during the afternoon
  • mandatory outside time for an hour or two in the afternoons
  • What Can I Do Indoors and Outdoors? lists  (see the outdoor list below)
  • and I always have a long list of chores waiting if someone really can’t find something to do

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