We've all been there (some more than others)... too tired, sick or hungover to get off the couch. But alas, parenting still needs to happen. So we laid down, had a brainstorming sesh and came up with a list of easy activities the kids will love – all while you remain firmly on the couch.
There are some days when the thought of parenting ALL DAY is just too much. Perhaps your day started at 5am, with a shrieking toddler insisting it’s time to play. Perhaps you’re a bit under the weather, hubby is away and it’s up to you to solo parent. Or maybe you overindulged in one glass too many last night and are now suffering the hideous consequences (has anyone else noticed that hangovers are a gazillion times worse once you hit 30?).
When you’re not physically or emotionally capable of leaving the house for some outdoor fun, it’s moments like these that you want – no – NEED the kids to just happily play without demanding too much interaction or movement from you. So, the HoneyKids team has put our heads together and made a list of fun, easy activities for the kids that you can totally do while still being in very close proximity to the couch, if not on it. Enter: a guide to horizontal parenting.
HOW TO HORIZONTAL-PARENT FROM THE COUCH
1. Pretend play
Arguably the all-time best couch-parenting activity ever: pretend play. You could arm the kids with a hairbrush, spray bottle filled with water and a handful of hair clips for an hour of hairdressing (pretend you’re the customer, Mrs McGonagall, who is going to a fancy ball tonight and needs a lovely up-do). Or grab the kids’ doctors kit for a session of ER triage, whereby you visit the doctors with various ailments to be treated (we like a good leg amputation, a chesty cough and childbirth).
OK, we know playdough is the absolute pits when it comes to clean-up time, but there’s something about the smooshy, salty dough that kids just love. It keeps kids of all ages occupied for hours, and there tends to be less arguing, as there’s always plenty to go round. We love setting challenges, like best fruit platter, scariest monster face and longest snake.
3. Screen time
Well, obviously this is the easiest option. What kid says no to a bit of screen time on the TV or iPad? Sometimes we withhold TV until absolutely necessary though – like a poker player not showing their hand too early. So we’ve got you totally covered when it comes to kid-friendly viewing too, whether you’re after something educational on telly, or a fun app for the little ones. If all else fails, snuggle up together for one of the best of the best movies of all time.
Some very smart individual somewhere created these genius colourful, magnetic tiles and then decided to sell them for a pretty penny. In our opinion though, the expense is worth it. We’re putting Magna-Tiles up there as the most used toy in our household. We love that they can be used in so many different ways – as vehicles, castles, houses, animals, shapes or car garages. The list is endless.
5. Build a fort
A blanket, a king-size bed sheet, loads of pillows and some pegs are the perfect foundations for building a lounge room fort. This should keep the kiddos busy for a while and once they’re done, send in some Magna-Tiles or an iPad for a little more quiet time. And even better, jump onto Deliveroo and order lunch for the kids without having to shift from the sofa. Genius!
6. Feel the music
Whoever invented bluetooth speakers should be knighted. From your comfy position on the lounge, you can take special song requests for dancing competitions, stop-and-start the tunes for musical statues, or be DJ queen for a few rounds of kid-karaoke!
7, Encourage the kids to embrace their inner thespian
If you’ve got kids who love to pretend or perform, how about commissioning your very own theatre play? Kids will love writing the script (or if they’re not of writing age yet, you could help out from the sofa), assigning parts, rehearsing and then performing for Mum and Dad.
8. Lego, Lego and more Lego
For those of us with Lego-obsessed kids it can sometimes feel pretty irritating to be constantly dealing with those sharp-edged little bricks. The blind obsession, the constant picking up of microscopic pieces of plastic, the searing pain of stepping on a Lego piece with bare feet or the emotional turmoil when a sibling smashes an all-day masterpiece. Gah! But on days when one simply needs to parent from the sofa, Lego comes into its own. Give the kids carte blanche to tip their entire Lego collection onto the lounge room floor and go nuts. Just make sure you’re not barefoot.
9. Get puzzled
Oh, how we love a good puzzle. Does that mean we’re officially middle-aged? The lovely thing about the humble jigsaw puzzle is not the puzzle itself, but the interpersonal connections that happen when a family completes a puzzle together. This activity might require you to sit upright, but you won’t need to move too much (if the room is spinning, this is a good thing). We just adore the teamwork needed to do puzzles… is there anything more heartwarming than seeing siblings find pieces and excitedly sharing them with each other? We also love the incidental chat that happens as the puzzle’s being done. Quality family time, right there.
10. Next level colouring in
Coloured pencils, crayons or markers are an artistic kid’s best friend. And when you’re having a sofa day, your best friend will be your phone and a wifi-enabled printer. Our tried and tested way to keep the kiddos engaged in their colouring is to take requests, search the internet (try “Disney Princess Colouring Pages” as your next search if you’re got a princess-obsessed child), then print out colouring pages on demand. You’d be amazed at what the glorious internet can provide… we’ve even found colouring pages for our peregrine falcon-obsessed six-year old.
Good luck, folks! And enjoy your day (or days!) of horizontal parenting!
Top image: Kinga Cichewicz via Unsplash