I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of crafts and activities with my children, especially on the holidays. Unfortunately, three out of the five times we sit down to do an activity the execution is far different than what I had planned in my head.
Sometimes it ends in a mess 10 times larger than I wanted, or the kids are throwing fits because it’s not working how they want it to, the colors mix, the line isn’t straight, or it ends sooner than they want. You name it we have probably experienced it.
Usually at the end of it all I wonder why in the world I keep going back, doing the same thing, but expecting different results. According to Einstein I’m crazy. At first, I thought that maybe I wasn’t planning ahead well enough, so the next time I tried to prep the craft before I told my kids about it. Well if you’re familiar with any of this then I’m sure you can guess what happened next.
It still ended in a disaster. Kids yelling at each other, glue in places it shouldn’t have been, and me standing there ready to pull my hair out.
After talking with some of my other mom friends, I realized that chaotic craft time isn’t something that only happens in my household. Craft time is chaotic for all moms because let’s face it, kids (especially toddlers) are just down right excited. I mean, who wouldn’t be? It’s the one time they get to play with glue, scissors, and if they’re lucky, GLITTER!
In my house glitter is almost a forbidden substance because my sweet husband’s hatred for it runs deeper than the Grand Canyon. You may think I’m being dramatic but in reality, that’s probably a slight understatement.
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After I realized that chaotic craft time is a normal experience with all toddlers across the board, I decided to just embrace and expect it. So now when I’m planning a craft I just expect that the kids will throw some sort of a tantrum or the craft won’t go together like I expect it to.
This way I’m able to plan for the worst but hope for the best. Now that my expectations aren’t so high we have actually been able to do some craft activities that ended with a surprising twist. No tantrums, the craft came out fantastic, and the mess was manageable. I’m not sure why this is, but the more I lower my expectations the more fun we have. Maybe it’s because I’m not so stressed and since the emotions aren’t elevated it gives us all the chance to have fun instead of worrying about how perfect the experience is or how well the craft turns out.
Now that you know you’re not the only mom who dreads craft time, you can start lowering your expectations are start actually enjoying it. Here are my 5 tips to make it a little less stressful and a little more enjoyable for all of you.
If you decided to do a craft at the last minute, then it’s just going to end up in a disaster, I promise. The craft isn’t going to go together like you want, you aren’t going to have all the supplies you need, and/or your kids are going to get impatient. All this is going to add up to one stressful craft time for both you and the kids. So instead, plan ahead. If you can give your kids and yourself a day or two notice that’s the best, but if not then at least give yourself a couple hours to pull stuff together before you announce to your kids it’s craft time.
The more you can prep all the pieces to the craft the smoother the experience is going to be for everyone. So, print what every piece you need, do all the cutting out ahead of time, gather all your supplies and right before its time, stage the area. All this prep beforehand will help the whole process go 10x smoother.
LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Remember you’re dealing with toddlers. This means that things are going to go wrong, period, no doubt about it. If you expect this to happen then when it does, it’s not going to throw you for a loop.
EMBRCE THE CHAOS
When your toddler throws a world class tantrum in the middle of the craft because the purple marker isn’t working, just embrace it. Heck this could be the downfall to the whole craft, it may take you a whole hour to calm them down, the craft time will most likely be over, but just embrace. Hopefully next time things will be better.
When your toddler starts throwing glitter all over you floor or the glue bottle gets dumped out on the table, remember to breath. Take a step back and breath. They are toddlers, messes are going to happen, chaos is going to be a thing, just breath and embrace it.
Craft time with toddlers is always, or at least almost always, going to be chaotic is some form or fashion. Instead of being stressed through the whole thing or, like I did for a while, forgoing craft time all together, you can actually enjoy it. Just remember to plan ahead, prep, lower your expectations, embrace the chaos, and breath when the littles start losing their mind. You got this mama. Now go dominate craft time and all its chaos!