"Just Add Water" - some of the best parenting advice I’ve ever received.
Updated: Oct 14
We’re all stuck at home at the moment and I’m surprised by how many positives I’ve discovered since the enforced lock down. But let’s face it – it’s a lot of family time. We’re all used to having a little bit of space; and that’s not possible right now.
So, it’s fair to say that there are times we’re getting on each other’s nerves. As parents, the kids are driving us nuts. While this is pretty normal, what’s not normal is there’s no reprieve – no school, no babysitters, no play dates, no respite.
We’re all scrambling for ways to keep the kids entertained and distracted to prevent household mayhem. So, in an effort to help, I’m going to share some of the best parenting advice I’ve ever received.
Just Add Water
About a week before the lock down, I met a friend for a walk around the lake (Lake Wendouree in Ballarat that is) and ran into a girlfriend who, like me, has young children. We had a brief chat, in which we mentioned kids and the challenge of keeping them entertained. And it was then she passed on this priceless advice that I have come to live by: when it comes to kids, just add water.
I laughed at first, but the more I started to think about it, the more it made sense.
Water is the main component of the human body. As adults we know the importance of staying hydrated, and the effects of being dehydrated. So first and foremost, when the kids are ratty, get them to have some water.
But more than that, water, even just a little bit, seems to completely transform any activity the kids are doing from average to astonishing.
We know kids are always well entertained at the local pool or beach. But as it’s no longer summer, and those activities are not currently permitted, we need to think smaller. Here are some of the ways I’ve used water to keep my boys occupied and at times, prevent all-out war:
A jug of water and some plastic cups – yep, that’s all I gave them and I watched for two hours as they poured water back and forth from the cups to the jug, creating experiments and splashing around. So simple. So effective.
Post rain gumboot walk – we’re all out for daily walks. My kids have the most fun when I take them after it’s rained. We wear our gumboots and go out finding puddles. They don’t even have to be big puddles. Even a small amount of water creates excitement.
A bath – yes even in the middle of the afternoon. Some of the humid afternoons over summer that had the kids feeling whiney and lethargic were completely transformed by a bath and a few old plastic toys. It revived them and had them feeling fresh and chirpy again.
Watering cans – we always want our kids to help out around the house. A watering can each has my kids out taking care of our flowers and veggies. Sure, there’s a bit of excess splashing but really, who cares?
Car wash – another house hold chore that my kids love to get involved in, all because it involves water. For my boys, I even set up a small car wash for their toys that have been in the mud or sandpit – hours of fun.
So next time you strike some trouble, the kids are fighting, bored, whining, tired and you’re on the cliff edge yourself, remember: just add water. It will transform your day.