Ever been sick and tried to parent?
Ever been exhausted and dealt with a toddler?
Ever just wanted to check into an AirBnB for the afternoon just so you could take a nap?
Yeah, me too. I scoured the internet, my own exhaustive (haha-see what I did there?) experience, and wise friends and put together this list of ways to keep your children alive and entertained while you’re lying down on the job.
Have your kids practice their writing skills by drawing flowers or letters or whatever on your bare back with their fingers, and you guess what they draw or wrote. A word of caution: Check those little paws carefully! One time I THOUGHT we were playing this, but my toddler had a Sharpie in her hand.
We used to draw. When my son was too small to draw actual pictures, he would scribble, tell me what it was, and I would draw that out of the scribbles- Debi
We play, “Watch and Compare all the ___ (Disney/Barbie/LEGO/etc) Movies”! -Karen You’re using higher level learning right there!
We do “Beauty Parlor” at my house. They brush and fix my hair. I may even let them use my naked make up brushes to apply make up. I try to get a facial and hand massage out of the deal if possible. My girls called it Spa Day! Hair brush and lotion rubs. Nail painting also.- Deanna It just occurred to me you could call this Funeral Home and you could be the dead body! Oh my gosh. I have a morbid sense of humor.
It’s called Movie Day at our house ??– Meagan
Scavenger Hunt: Have your kiddo go find five things that start with the Letter R. Or have them bring back 3 blue things. Maybe they could find “things you need in a snowstorm” or “something a pioneer might own”. Or they could use a camera app on their device and take pictures of it. If you choose to have them bring you the item, make sure you set up the rule that they have to put it back exactly where they found it, or you’ll be able to tell.
We heard one on NPR last month called “What’s on my butt?” where you lay face down on the couch and they go grab something to put on your butt and you guess what it is, winner has to put the item away so always lose on purpose.- Kimberly If you’re feeling a smidge energetic, you can say “What’s on my butt?” in different voices as you draw out the time it takes to guess, sending the kids into gales of laughter and prolonging the time you don’t have to use your brain to guess what’s on your butt.
Card games!- Heather This works great with older kids. I make them move the ottoman right next to me on the couch and then I barely have to move. I do have to be conscious.
YouTube! I find something I’ll have zero guilt about. Recently, my 5yo and I had an Art with Mati and Dada marathon. Shhhhh, I slept through 98% of it. -Stacy I usually try to make a play list of videos that have something to do with what we’re studying in school, with animal fights (spider vs frog, anyone?) or world’s most dangerous bridges type videos thrown in to keep up interest.
Quiet game.- Nicole My kids will still play this game, especially if I incentivize with money or sweets. First one to talk loses!
Hobbit Sneak: In case you aren’t aware, hobbits are so quiet they can sneak past most big people and you’ll never know they were there. Tell your children they have to get from one end of the house to the other without you hearing them, like a hobbit.
A Twist on Memory: Give your child a family photo album or your phone’s photo app and have them describe a photograph while you lie there with your eyes closed. You have to guess the memory. Bonus: It’s really good for kids and bonding for you both to talk about your mutual past. Science says.
Story cubes- Mary Story cubes are basically dice with a single picture on each side. Kids can make up endless stories about anything, these just make the getting started process easier. You can do the same thing with a magazine or picture book. “What’s happening? Pretend I’m blind and don’t know what is in the picture.” Have your child talk and talk and talk and you lie there with your eyes closed inserting “huh-huh” and “Mmmm” and “what happened then?”
Run like a ______: I have my toddler and preschoolers run from one end of the house to the other like various animals. “Run away like a cheetah! Come back like a koala! Run away like a mongoose! Come back like a python!” This game only ends when you run out of animals. Better brush up.
Top Chef- Leigh Basically any baking show. Why kids are so fascinated watching people bake, I’ll never know, but fully use it to your advantage!
I Spy- Tricia and Deejay The other day I laid in bed with my three year old playing this for a good 45 minutes. I could play mostly with my eyes closed. Her clues are awesome. ” I spy something black and brown and it’s on the ceiling shaped like a fan!”
My kids all have the fondest memories of Mommy’s Puppy Bed. I would tell them to pretend to be a puppy and then I would make a “puppy bed” with my legs. It would buy me at least an hour and a half. Sometimes on Family Movie Movie Night, one of them will still“call” the Puppy Bed ☺️☺️☺️ “I call mom’s Puppy Bed!” -Nicole
Race track: You lie on the floor and let your kids include you in their landscape of car tracks. You get a bonus back rub out of the deal as they roll their trucks and cars all over you. You could even go above and beyond and use a Sharpie to draw a road on an old tee shirt to put on.
Will it roll?: Have them make a ramp along the side of the couch with a board. We actually have shelves from old bookcases just for games like this. They can build one themselves by stacking books and using a book for the ramp. Let them discover what rolls. Balls, erasers, lids, blocks, toy animals, whatever. You could incorporate this one with Scavenger Hunt, and you tell them to find things, then they try it on the ramp before they put it back.
What games do you play while lying down? Games with your KIDS!
I see where your mind went, you cheeky monkey!