Let me start by saying that I am a mom of active boys, so I cannot speak to the activity level of girls. Certainly, there are parents of girls who can relate to this post too. But, there’s something about have multiple active boys that is unique. Regardless, my reason for sharing this post is a fun look at the practical and positive aspects of highly active children.
All parents understand they need to keep their little ones busy. Organized sports, play dates, art projects, playgrounds, hikes, cooking – finding activities that work for you and your child are extremely important to keep those little brains growing (and to keep yourself from going crazy).
But when you have truly active kids:
- They blow through every activity that you’ve planned in a matter of minutes.
- They run circles around you, his friends, and his friends parents at the playground.
- And you might not feel comfortable leaving your child with others due to his activity level.
I could go on for a while…
That said, having two extremely busy boys, I have thought long and hard about how to make the most of my children’s activity levels. While I am still figuring out how to keep up with my boys, remembering these has been helpful…
1. Socializing with Other Parents is Tough
While part of this is my kids’ ages (two and four years old), my active boys tend to run in two completely different directions while playing with other kids. One enjoys climbing to the highest point, no matter the location (park, hike, museum, etc.), while the other will find a patch of dirt to dig, get dirty, and encourage his friend to join. Inevitably, they will need attention at the same time, in opposite directions while I attempt visiting with the other child’s parents. I often have to excuse myself mid-conversation with adults to ensure one of my children does not run into a parking lot or jump off said highest point in the playground.
Don’t worry, you’re not boring, you smell fine and I enjoy spending time with you.
2. We Must Play Outside Every Day
My kids do not do well with indoor days. When it happens, we survive them with many, many activities planned (and sometimes a movie involved, let’s be real), but whenever possible, we go outside. It can be just for a walk, a ride around town, or a whole hike, in blazing heat or with snow gear on, I must get them out. Somehow the large muscle groups must be moved to have a smooth day.
3. People Are Going to Comment
I once had an instructor of my child’s toddler play group say, “Wow! You have your hands full, don’t you?” It was the morning I found out I was pregnant with my second baby. My older son was climbing everything, jumping everywhere, trying to open cabinets all over the room and crying because he could not access a stack of adult chairs (which he most certainly wanted to climb). He was 15 months. I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry because she was validating my overwhelmed feelings. I also wanted to cry because I did have my hands full. I couldn’t decide if hearing this was positive or not. When in doubt, perhaps it is better to say nothing and offer to help with some physical aspect of the situation (opening a door, grabbing something from overwhelmed friend’s hands, offer to baby-sit)!
4. Getting Stuff Done Requires a Lot of Creativity
These days, getting to use the restroom is a luxury… and if I get to do it alone, all the better. I realize this is not unique to parents of active children, but I have a number of instances when I had to think twice about relieving myself so my kids would stay safe. To avoid their climbing, wrestling, jumping, throwing and other energies, I typically have a few high interest activities in my back pocket. These are activities that can be left un-monitored for a brief period and do not result in an object getting permanently marred and/or anyone getting seriously injured. A few of our favorites are play dough, building, and the light table, but even that isn’t a guarantee that I’ll get to pee!
5. Down Time is Everything
I have never enjoyed reading as much as I do now. With all the sensory input from the boys, preschool, friends, spouses, relatives, chores, activities, workouts, etc. when I get a moment, I appreciate and take advantage of it more than I have in my life. It is rare, but ever-so-meaningful.
If you ever run into me in real life, you’ll know who I am because of my boys (see one way up in the tree and the other covered in dirt?). Come say hi, realize that I have to chase after them instead of shaking your hand, and offer to watch them for a second so I can pee by myself. I promise, we’ll be friends forever after that!