Let the Good Times Roll: Stress Less With Back to Basics Games
Over the past year, I have been on a mission to slow down and enjoy each moment, really taking to heart Gretchen Rubin’s saying, “The days are long, but the years are short.”
Like all of you, I look back at pictures of my boys when they were infants and think “where did the time go?” I also worry about slowing down to enjoy each moment, like the time they want to snuggle in the morning or spend 30 minutes reenacting a game they played at school. After all, before I know it, I will be trying to drag information out of them.
But how could I possibly slow down? Between all of the irons I have in the fire, the kids’ activities and a husband who travels, slowing down seems completely unattainable … But none the less, I was going to give it a go!
Then it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, I should follow my own advice and keep it simple. After all, I am always telling expectant moms and overwhelmed overachievers to keep it simple – only do what you can do and let the rest go. If all you can manage is to pick up a veggie tray for the potluck at school, it’s all good! So my advice to myself became “keep it simple; get back to the basics.”
I have found a few easy ways to get back to basics morning, noon and night:
Make your weekend breakfast fun and relaxing with a little activity. My oldest son and I had a blast having a “LEGOs and Bagels breakfast” one weekend. What could have been a quick trip to the bagel shop turned into an hour and a half long – and leisurely – LEGOs and Bagels breakfast!
You can even skip the trip to the bagel shop and make your little one’s favorite breakfast at home and break out Sorry! or Chutes and Ladders. Just be sure not to serve an overly messy breakfast, or your game will end up a sticky mess.
Noon (well, dinner time)
Getting dinner on the table for the family at the end of a crazy day can sometimes more stressful than the day itself, which is oh so helpful. Whether you are serving a four-course meal or reheating leftovers for the second night in a row (like me!), incorporating a little game will do wonders for your stress level. Plus, a fun game at dinner is a great way to maximize the quality time you get to spend with your little ones if you work outside the home.
My new favorite dinner game is Telephone. You remember, the game where you whisper something in the ear of the person sitting next to you, they then whisper the same something in the ear of the person next to them, so on and so forth, until it gets back around to you and you see if everyone got it right. Insert a couple of little ones into a game of Telephone and you have yourself a highly entertaining evening!
When my husband is traveling (which is quite often) things can get extra hectic so finding ways to wind down after dinner is critical. One of our new favorite things to do is to play UNO. The boys and I started playing UNO together shortly after my youngest turned 4, and let me tell you that it was nothing short of highly entertaining. Between playing with cards face up, reminding him of the rules each time it was his turn, and suggesting that picking red after playing a wild card might be better than picking green since he has 5 reds and 0 greens (just saying…).
Now don’t forget about YOU. We all know that if we aren’t taking care of ourselves, we can’t take care of everyone else so don’t forget to find a new way for you to get back to basics. My new secret weapon is to sit down and play a game of Solitaire at the end of a wild day. Not on my phone, tablet or laptop but with a good old fashion deck of cards. Remember them?! It sounds too simple, but it has honestly been amazingly relaxing and brings back childhood memories of watching my grandfather sitting in his Lazyboy playing Solitaire on a TV tray.
Above all else, try to enjoy the small things because they will carry you through the craziest of days.
Until next time,
aka Chick #1