On Mondays for a bit, I’m going to begin offering a little bit of how I’m able to get my me-time in with my awesome 3-year-old underfoot. These will be quick tips with a few pics to see it in action. My hope is that these ideas will allow some of you to find a way to distract the littles so you can get in some time to do what you love. Right now for me, it’s obviously sewing, but I know these could work for other activities as well. Since we don’t do much tv, I have quite a few tricks up my sleeve around here, so check back on Mondays for more ideas! 🙂
This all depends on age, but Little Man has only in the last year begun attempting to use scissors (special safety/kid scissors, of course–the ones pictured were an upgrade from the super-safe kind after he had some practice). He’s not great at it, but also doesn’t want to “practice.” Sometimes when he sees me cutting patterns and such, he asks for his scissors so he can cut. My obvious answer, “OF COURSE!” LM is typically pretty good at entertaining himself, but sometimes he just wants to be involved and near me when I’m doing my thing.
I don’t pull out new paper. Instead, I take paper from a stash of paper LM has scribbled on but wasn’t worth saving for anything. Since he’s still relatively new to this cutting thing, I tear the paper into long strips so he doesn’t have to keep opening and closing the scissors to make a full cut. He gets less frustrated this way, too, which means it holds his interest longer.
I also offer him parts of the scraps from what I’m cutting out–but be watching always…he started to cut my pattern once when I looked away for the briefest of moments! I make sure to keep some space between us and emphasize lots about what he can and can’t cut.
For older kids, there are some cutting workbooks like this one that are available at some book and craft stores around here or on Amazon–pages with a giant walrus face where you are to cut the whiskers and other fun activities. Or you can just draw some lines on a paper and let them practice that way.
The most important suggestion I can offer when using this tip–don’t get involved in his technique unless he asks for help. I do take other times for more instruction of how to use the scissors properly with the right grip, etc., but when it’s just to entertain him while I sew…he can do it however he wants! Even if it is half cutting/half ripping it. He has a blast doing this!
And try to ignore the crazy paper mess. It’s not always easy, but it only takes a couple minutes to pick it up. I save the better long strips for next time and recycle the tiny bits. He may want to cut again tomorrow, or maybe next week–but he’ll want to again eventually!
This has kept LM occupied for nearly an hour. He does talk to me, and we do interact during this time, but it’s not hands-on parenting time. I value the time he’s able to play alongside me without much involvement from me. It’s two of my favorite things all at the same time.
Come back next Monday for another tip! Thanks for looking! 🙂