A sorority sister of mine from college days recently wrote on her Facebook wall, "God bless all of my FB friends who are rearing or have survived a 3-4-year-old boy!"
I laughed, then commented that I currently have BOTH and will consider my survival no small miracle. People tell me all the time to "enjoy this time; it goes so fast!" Really? Is 18 years with 3 and 4-year-olds fast to you? No, me neither.
This is the 3-year-old...
And this is the 4-year-old...
Those photos kinda say it all, don't they? Busy. Goofy. Messy. Loud. Naughty. Noisy. Whiny. Crazy.
It's not enough to merely comment on the nature of 3 and 4-year-old boys. Having raised three of these already, I want to leave you with some tools. Some survival methods, if you will.
First of all, you need a battle plan.This is war! It is always, always, always, always a terrible day if I try to fly by the seat of my pants. Even if the house catches fire and nothing goes as I had planned on paper, the day has gone better than it would have. So take the time to jot down a battle plan for tomorrow morning. Here's a sample:
9:00 Breakfast and clean-up
11:00 Garden- Mom and Caroline
Outside Cars and Bikes- Abby and Joe
Sand and Water Table- Annesley and Christian
11:30 Table projects with Ab and Annesley
Caroline play farm and cars with Christian & Joe
11:45 Table projects with Caroline and Christian
Abby write to Emma (pen pal)
Annesley write a letter
12 Mom read aloud to girls and Christian
Jack read aloud to/play with Joe
12:30 Lunch and clean-up
1:30 Quiet Reading/3 and 4-year-olds down for naps
Summer Catch Up on School Work
Swim if everything else is completed
5:00 4-year-old goes to grandparents' next door for a snack
3-year-old stays and plays while I get dinner going and chores done
6:00 Everyone does their zones (cleaning areas) and evening chores
3 and 4-year-olds are at the table strapped into their seats and watching a video
7:00 Daddy gets home and we eat dinner
Secondly, you need an arsenal. What do you have that can be played with and rotated? You can make mental note or actually assign toys and activities to certain times/days. There are some classic go-to toys that every little guy should have, and if you have limited resources you might consider some of these because they'll give you maximum playing time: Duplo, wooden trains, Hot Wheels, wooden blocks, a sandbox, and ride-on cars have been the mainstays of our little boy arsenal over the years. You can click the links below in case any of these are new to you.
But playtime can be free, too. You know your boys love boxes, don't you? And water in bowls, dirt and a shovel, and good old fashioned mud. Playgrounds at the park are free, too.
Wear them out! Gosh, I just love it when they are so wiped out they fall asleep on the trip down the hall to their beds. Oh, and Benadryl. I love that, too!* ;D
*No really. I'm only kidding.