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15 Adorable Parenting Tips To Entertain Your Kids All Day Long

15 Adorable Parenting Tips To Entertain Your Kids All Day Long

Our little ones can be an endless source of joy and pride. I don’t know about you, but one look at the picture of my little rascal is enough to get me to calm down and keep a cool head during a particularly stressful day at work. The thing is, even though we enjoy spending time with them, kids are just on a whole other level when it comes to energy. They can run around all day long, and their attention span is not their strong side. For these reasons it can be difficult to channel all their energy in a more creative and constructive way, and manage to keep them entertained throughout the day. Well, different people have found some very interesting parenting hacks over the years. Here is a list of fun activities that will help you keep your children busy and engaged until bedtime.

1. Create your own coloring book

Toddler with a coloring book

    Kids love to paint and draw, and if there is a story behind the pictures and they have to be careful to color in the right lines then you are helping them develop their cognitive skills and fine motor functions, as well as keeping them busy. You can draw up different scenes freehand on a piece of paper or you can use pictures worked over in Photoshop to create some awesome scenes for your coloring book.

    2. Hold a drawing/painting contest

    Baby covered in paint

      A blank piece of paper gives your children much more artistic freedom than a coloring book and it’s much easier to set up a drawing or painting contest. Write down a few themes, animals and objects on small pieces of paper, mix them up and then draw one. Everyone has to draw whatever comes up, including mommy or daddy, and then you move on to the next one.

      3. Create art from everyday items

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        A particularly optimistic crafting project may require you to shop for supplies, but there are tons of simple household items that can be used in unique and interesting ways. You can use bubble wrap to make cool patterns by dipping it in paint and applying it to an object or you can paint old empty bottles to make vases.

        4. Decorate the living room for an exciting party

        Throwing a childrens party

          Throw a small party for the whole family, but have the kids help you out with planning and decorating beforehand. By the time they are through with decorating and dressing up, you’ll have plenty of time to serve up some juice and snacks. Then just play some music and let them tire themselves out by dancing.

          5. Build a Lego town

          Pile of legos

            Legos are incredibly versatile and can serve as building blocks for just about any project. Gather your little ones and design a basic outline of a town. Then start planning the important administrative building and the homes for some of the other toys. You can come up with some back stories for the different toys as well – e.g. why a naughty soldier is in jail or why the dinosaur and Bratz doll live in the same building. This can be hours of fun.

            6. Turn old cardboard boxes into race cars

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            Kid in cardboard box car

              We all know that babies and toddlers often find big cardboard boxes more amusing than even the shiniest and fluffiest toy in the world. You can combine this natural fascination with huge boxes and some fun scenarios by turning them into cars. Draw some wheels and lights and cut out windows. Give them a Frisbee for a steering wheel and pretend you are racing, or just driving around town, naming the things that you see as you travel.

              7. Organize a stage performance

              Kids playing in professions

                Help the kids come up with a script for an adventurous play and then have them set the stage, dress up and perform for you. It will take them quite a bit of time just to set up the stage, rehearse and find the right wardrobe, and then you can look forward to a fun play that you can record. If they are feeling very creative you can even have two shows that day.

                8. Make some Halloween costumes

                Halloween kids

                  With Halloween right around the corner it only seems fitting to start preparing some great costumes. Get the kids involved by letting them choose the materials and make drawings of how they would like their costume to look. They will get very excited and will gladly help you out, doing any small task that you assign them with a sense of pride. This fun project makes the children feel important and sparks their creative side.

                  9. Play “busy little ants clean up their home”

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                  Toddlers cleaning up

                    Most parents have trouble finding a good balance between work, household chores and spending quality time with their kids. If you create a fun game around cleaning the house you can have your little sweeties take on a decent part of the workload and stay fairly entertained in the process. My daughter loves animals and animal documentaries, so we like to pretend that we are a colony of busy little ants that are preparing our home for the winter. It is also a good way to let the wife take a much deserved break, as she becomes the ant queen who gives out orders.

                    10. Play some online games that develop memory and cognitive skills

                    Baby working on laptop

                      A child’s growing mind is like a sponge that soaks up all sorts of knowledge from the world around it. That’s why it is important to nurture both creative and clean logical thinking. These new generations are incredibly tech-savvy, so I find that it’s best to use a tablet to play one of the many great logical puzzles and memory games that can help develop your child’s cognitive abilities. The kids will be glued to the screen and will want to play over and over to get a better score.

                      11. Open up a bakery in your kitchen

                      Children baking in the kitchen

                        Taking care of a family means feeding a lot of hungry mouths, and it’s not exactly the easiest job in the world when said hungry mouths keep running around aimlessly or telling you how bored they are. Both boys and girls like to get their hands dirty and create, so with a bit of imagination and some dress up, you can have these eager little helpers work in your newly opened kitchen bakery. You can spend hours at a time working on different cookies or cakes, or just letting them play around with some dough while you prepare the snacks. In the end everyone gets a nice treat. 

                        12. Build a fort and hide

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                        Girl in a fort

                          There are very few things that are as exciting and fun as making a fort indoors. It’s a simple affair, although there are some very creative examples, and requires no more than a big blanket, a few pillows, a broomstick or length of rope and a bit of furniture rearranging. The magical fort can be decorated to taste and warm milk and cookies served inside – perhaps after a busy day at the kitchen bakery. It is also a great setting for storytelling.   

                          13. Hold a wrestling tournament and play different characters

                          Boys wrestling with dad

                            This one is particularly fun for boys, but I know a certain little girl who can perform a very good arm bar and likes to wrestle around with her dad for hours. To keep things interesting you can come up with several different characters and hold a tournament. Each of you will choose a character to play for a given time – just like you would in a video game – and the winners get to go on to the final stages. It’s best to let the little ones win at the end. They could even join forces against the main baddy played by yourself.

                            14. Engage in some storytelling

                            Gru reading a story

                              Be it in a magnificent fort, around the living room table or gathered in a circle on the floor, storytelling always fascinates kids and they like to join in as well. You can read stories from a book, and do your best to make up interesting voices for the characters, or you can do some ad lib and make up a story on the go using suggestions from the eager crowd. The kids can also be encouraged to come up with their own stories, suggest plot twists or make up funny characters.  

                              15. When all else fails, dress up and watch your favorite cartoons

                              Girl watching TV

                                After a long day the kids will get a bit tired, but they’ll still want to do something fun before bed time. The go-to solution for many parents is watching cartoons. It’s best to choose a couple of their favorite cartoons and have them dress up as their favorite characters for movie night. Just make sure they don’t stay up past their bedtime – you can give them some warm milk or hot chocolate.

                                These cool parenting hacks should keep your lovely little kids occupied and entertained throughout the day, while providing enough creative stimulus for their developing minds.

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                                Ivan Dimitrijevic

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                                Published on November 14, 2018

                                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                Symptoms of Fatigue

                                Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                • mental blocks
                                • lack of motivation
                                • headache
                                • dizziness
                                • muscle weakness
                                • slowed reflexes and responses
                                • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                • moodiness, such as irritability
                                • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                • reduced immune system function
                                • blurry vision
                                • short-term memory problems
                                • poor concentration
                                • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                Causes of Fatigue

                                The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                Anemia

                                Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                Diabetes

                                Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                Sleep Apnea

                                Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                Thyroid disease

                                An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                • Lack of sleep
                                • Too much sleep 
                                • Alcohol and drugs 
                                • Sleep disturbances 
                                • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                • Poor diet 

                                Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                1. Tell The Truth

                                Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                • How you feel
                                • What time of day it is
                                • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                • How your mind and body reacts

                                This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                4. Express More Gratitude

                                Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                5. Focus On Yourself

                                Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                7. Take a Power Nap

                                When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                8. Take More Exercise

                                The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                10. Improve Your Diet

                                Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                12. Get Hydrated

                                Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                The Bottom Line

                                These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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