boy mom tricks: high energy and noise

This may come as a shock: I am not a high-energy person, and I don't like noise. My boys...well, they can't be still, and the only time they are quiet is when they're sleeping. Not only are they loud and rowdy, they also fight. Over anything and everything. Siblings, you know?

We're a single-car family, and I don't currently have a valid driver's license in this country anyway. There is public transportation in this town, but we're a bit far from town center to easily get a tuk tuk to get out of the house. So what do I do with these boys when we're stuck at home during school breaks and Rodgers is at work? Yes, they drive me crazy, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

1) Send them outside. When they start getting loud and crazy, my first line of defense is, "Go outside." If it's hot, I tell them to stay in the shade. If it's raining, I send them onto the veranda. Actually, one day last week, they played in the rain. When they're loud and wild, they usually need to move - a lot - and this is the best way.

2) Sunday School. We haven't yet found a church here with a good Sunday School program, so we started using some lessons from Ministry-to-Children, especially on weeks that we couldn't make it to church at all. Then I realized that the singing and dancing (with help from YouTube) burned a lot of their energy, and they were always peaceful for the lesson. We're now working through the lesson series on The Lord's Prayer, not on Sundays, but we still call it "Sunday School."

3) Build a fort. When I build them a fort, suddenly they want to sit still and look at books. I do this if they've played outside, they've been active, but are for whatever reason still too rambunctious for being in the house, and especially if they are fighting a lot. We built this epic fort while Nate was on school break this time. Sheets over the backs of several chairs, connected to the "big couch," which they can crawl under, connected to the washing machine box they have been playing in.

4) (If possible) Get out of the house. These guys seem to get a bit of cabin fever after a few days, which manifests in insanity. By now, we know a couple of restaurants with playgrounds, there's always the beach, and sometimes just going to the supermarket helps them reset. But like I said, getting out is a bit difficult right now. When they're older, we'll be able to walk until we find transport, but they're still too small for that right now. I mean, if they get tired, I can't carry a 4-year old and (almost) 3-year old, together, at the same time.

5) Get out a "special" toy/game/activity. For Christmas last year, the boys got a train set. We have always kept the tracks put away because they turn into weapons when the train play is over. It's special when we get it out, and they play well for a solid chunk of time. There is also bubble-blowing, painting, cutting paper (a new obsession), and sidewalk chalk. We did all of these this school break. During Christmas school break, we'll make tree ornaments and snowflakes and do Christmasy things, which are all very necessary since it's a 9 week break!

6) Give them chores. They are still at the age where chores make them feel important and grown up (rather than enslaved). One day during break, I was trying to clean the bathrooms. Rodgers had just left for work, and the boys could not, would not get along. I gave them each a sponge and something to clean. They were occupied until I was done cleaning bathrooms, and were ready to get along with each other. They also both adore washing dishes, though this requires much more supervision on my part.


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