Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Make a Game Plan

Previously posted Friday, Feb 15, 2008 on my old blog.

Some of you might think " Gee, Laura is just naturally good with children". (I know you do!)
I know better. I wouldn't say that. In fact- I think I am really NOT naturally good with children. When my husband and I were first married, I always felt like I had to plan my interactions with the nieces and nephews. ( Just games and activities we could play together.)

But I think it's because I've had too many bad experiences of babysitting or tending children with no game plan... and the capricious nature of children makes me panic. (Especially when out numbered by them.)

You might wonder- what in the world does this have to do with Story Times or Book Clubs?
Maybe there are some of you- who are like me... you panic at the thought of inviting 3 or 4 of your children's friends over for a play date. Large amounts of unstructured time, with lots of kids in your house, might cause you anxiety. ( I know it does me!) And Book club has been such a blessing. My sons get to invite friends over and I have the peace of mind that games are organized, snacks planned and there is a starting and stopping time.

Recently I was asked if I would volunteer monthly and babysit for a Women's Organization, once a month, three hours with children ages 1 year- 4 years old. My first thought, after I agreed to do it , was "What's My Game Plan?"

First, I recruited two of my best friends to help. (They are members of this Women's Org.) We've split the time and responsibilities three ways. One friend is in charge of "play time" she brings the toys (and if I remember, I try to bring something fun- like our kid tent, or blow up beach balls)

Another friend is in charge of the lunch/snack time and music time. She starts a clean up song.. a washing hand song... and sitting down ready to eat type song. Then we clean up after the snack and do some silly dancing with music- get some wiggles out.

You can guess what I do every month. We end with a Story Time. I thought this Women's luncheon was today- so I planned my Story Time and then I checked my emails.. it's next week. (It feels great to have everything ready to go!)

But I thought this might help someone. Someone- like me- who doesn't really feel confident in being able to entertain kids. Instead of avoiding the chances.... just make a GAME PLAN. It truly does help and not only will the children enjoy it.. you will too! I look forward to these Women's luncheons.

I've been making GAME PLANS long enough that now I can entertain kids spur of the moment if I have to... but I always prefer to have a little notice so I can make a mental GAME PLAN, get some books together, etc...

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