Did you ever buy craft supplies hoping for them to eat up a half hour, only to find that your kids tire of them in less time than it took for you to reheat your coffee? Same here. Finally, here's a reference for how much time you can expect each of your carefully chosen or purchased activities to consume. Not that you're trying to hide from your kids or anything. Of course not. You just like to hang out in your closet alone.
- Arts and crafts. This depends. Coloring with the same old crayons will take up to 6 minutes, but if you break out the glue sticks and glitter, you may have up to 45. However, if you include cleanup, your net time gained will be negative one million minutes, so plan accordingly.
The puzzles you buy for your kids will take them 12 seconds each. However, virtual puzzles on the iPad will take them two hours. Oh, wait, that's not a puzzle, that's YouTube! Oh well, no parenting awards today. Playing with loud musical instruments also depends. If you have a work phone call to take, your children will be drawn to this activity like moths to a flame, for the entire length of your call. Otherwise, plan for 10 minutes max. Legos can eat up two hours, but your child will have to come over and ask you to separate the Legos every couple of minutes. Even if you're in the bathroom. Or in the shower. Or at the neighbor's. How did you guys find me here? Playing baby and mommy can take about as long as the actual activity it is imitating. My own daughters can play the more gynecological version, "push out baby," for hours. The C-section version takes slightly less time but has a longer recovery period. What? We read some library book on birth and they got really into it. "I hate you" is an expert-level sibling game of increasing screaming and escalated threats, often ending in violence. This game can take years but thankfully, is not played continuously in most cases. Helping Mommy clean varies based on the neuroticism of your kid. Your more conscientious and approval-seeking kid can do this for a good half hour. Your other kids will throw out your Magic Erasers within 4 minutes tops. THOSE THINGS AREN'T FREE, GUYS. If you're playing Candyland, your kids will play 25 times in a row, preferring it to food or water. If you try to get a game going between siblings without your involvement, this frequently devolves into #6. Playing outside can also vary quite a bit. If you mean playing on your expensive newly purchased swingset, it's 22 minutes max. If you mean finding a slug and building it a habitat out of a new sneaker, mud, and Mommy's scarf, you'll only discover this travesty after two hours of blessed solitude. Worth it? You decide.Any beautiful wooden toy or unique handmade doll you found on Etsy will take up... Ha ha ha. Maybe 10 seconds. Save your money for more Magic Erasers and don't go on Etsy till your kids are in college.
Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Says, There's Also The "Water Birth" Version. For Real.
This post was originally published here on Dr. Psych Mom. Follow Dr. Rodman on Dr. Psych Mom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Learn about Dr. Rodman's private practice, including therapy, coaching, and consultation, here. This blog is not intended as diagnosis, assessment, or treatment, and should not replace consultation with your medical provider.