By Top Contributor Dr. Judy Yaron
You want to watch the Olympic Games, but what do you do with your kids?
Family fun activities to keep kids busy and let you enjoy the games.
You’re a good guy, a devoted dad and a loving hubby in your own way. You do your job, provide for your family and rarely complain, but lately claustrophobic demands and expectations from every direction are getting the better of you. Your sanity is on the line. It’s not just work overload. It’s more like Life overwhelm – burnout down to ashes.
The Summer Olympic Games are here and just in time. They are precisely what you need to escape your reality and chillax, if only for a week or two. All you want is a cold beer, the AC and a bit of peace and quiet to stretch out and watch the games.
But wait! Haven’t you forgotten something? With a wife and three kids, it’s not gonna happen.
Fat chance of making your getaway to join your mates at the bar. You’d never hear the end of it. And going off to bed to watch The Games from the refuge of your bedroom … Well, you tried the yawning dance during EURO 2016, but no sooner did you congratulate yourself for your ingenuity, you heard the pitter-patter of little feet. One by one they all made their way to your bed; you felt like Maria in The Sound of Music. And it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll try sneaking off to the little boys’ room to watch on your phone. You did that during the Super Bowl, only to drop it into the toilet bowl, when you jumped up to cheer!
You know that you should really be thinking about how to make the Olympics a bonding family experience like some of the guys at work. That’s all they seem to talk about lately – how they’re going to watch the games with their kids and the kinds of crafts their wives are planning. Your boss has even brought Olympics cupcakes, his ten year old daughter baked – each decorated with a different sport. But that would never work for your family. You and crafts are not on good terms. Sure, you know where your wife keeps all the art materials, but that’s as far as it goes. Anything related to coloring, cutting and pasting brings back horrific memories of Mrs. Goldfinger, your nursery school teacher.
Besides, none of your offspring are the sporty type any way L There! You’ve said it! Yup! Sad, but true. Daisy, your eldest, the only sport she’s inclined to perfecting is finger texting, and since turning fourteen all she’s interested in are YouTube idols and the latest fashion in swimsuits. On the rare occasions she lifts her eyes from the screen, it’s to squabble with her siblings.
Brandon, your eleven year old son, is a good kid and you’re proud of him and everything, but let’s face it. He’s a bit of a wimp. He may end up to be another Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs, but for now, he’s a late bloomer and a bit of a loner. No matter how hard you and your wife have tried, no matter what bribes you offer, you have yet to drag him away from Sim City and get him onto the field.
And then there’s Wendy, six going on thirty, an inquisitive imaginative little soul. When she’s not asking questions about Life, she’s busy drawing and painting the world in rainbow colors.
How the hell are you going to interest the lot in The Games? Well, the short answer is, start where they’re at and delegate!
You see, The Olympic Games may be a sports event, but they’re actually a microcosm of Life with something for everyone.
Let’s start with Daisy. Since she’s into music and rhythm, introduce her to Katy Perry’s Rise, this Summer’s Olympic anthem and anthems from previous years. Encourage her to listen to the lyrics. Discuss the messages they convey. If you want to raise the bar, challenge her to write an anthem of her own and perform it for the family.
Because she loves fashion as well, have her design outfits for the various sports. For starts, encourage her to put pen to paper and come up with a few ideas. Then, take it to the next level by talking about comfort, practicalities, and the impact of certain materials and designs on the athletes’ performance. By doing so, you are providing Daisy with a reason of her own to watch the games.
Next is Brandon. There’s not a whole lot of difference between Sim City and building an Olympic Village and Park. Rather than focusing on the sports and the athletes, follow the event from a business angle. Discuss what it takes to make it happen. How do you plan something on such a humongous scale? Where do you begin? How do you build a team? What costs are involved? At the end of the day, how do you make money? The possibilities are endless and here too, you can take the lite approach or delve deep depending on your kid’s interests. Either way, encourage Brandon to share his findings with the family.
And last, there is Wendy, who loves to paint the world in bright colors. For her there could be no better palette and canvas than the Olympic Games to ignite her creativity juices. Start with national flags. She can color printable downloads offered online; she can copy or better yet, she can make her own. Here too you can raise the bar, by encouraging her to write the names of the countries, as well. This is a perfect activity for little ones learning to read and write.
If decorating the house with flags of the world is not your thing, she can make Memory playing cards instead. One card has the flag, another has the name of the country. Little ones can go for hours playing Memory and they are usually much better at it than their parents. I know. I have been beaten at it time and time again, without even trying to let my components win.
As you watch the games, test your kids’ newly acquired knowledge about national flags and countries. Give points for correct answers, and if you promise a prize, that will surely keep them glued to the screen.
Feeling a bit better?
These are just a few of the many possible win-win activities you can easily do with your kids. Why win-win? Because, while these activities create opportunities for some family fun time, they also provide your kids with something to do on their own, which gives you a bit of ME-Time. As for your wife? Well, I’ll leave that up to you.
For more #Rio2016 ideas, hop over to my site – www.time2lead.club.
Dr. Judy Yaron
Dr. Judy Yaron comes to you with both theoretical knowledge and practical experience in raising kids: a PhD in Educational Leadership and a teaching career that spreads over forty years and three continents. Dr. Yaron can say that she is proud of her kids and where they are in their own life journeys; she believes that leadership starts at home and runs a leadership program for parents and kids. Find out more about Dr Judy at www.Time2Lead.Club and follow Dr Judy on Twitter @time2leadclub.