Sometimes we are just too tired. We finally get to lie down on the couch and bam, there’s your kid needing your attention, wanting you to play. You love them, and don’t want to disappoint them. But you can’t. get. up.
Well, I am here to help you. Over the years, our family has been experimenting with different techniques that satisfy everyone in the house. These are the top success stories:
- I’m a mountain. This works best with toddlers. Depending on how fast they grow it gets awkward around five years-old. (Thanks to the cartoon Bluey for the idea for this). They “climb” from your feet to your head. There are storms and rockslides. They (gently) plant a flag on your head.
- I’m a musical instrument. Pretend you are a keyboard or a guitar, or any other instrument really, and they play you as you make the appropriate noises. (Again, Bluey inspired this one.)
- Upsized, reverse peekaboo. You are laying with a blanket on your face. When they whip it off you, you yell “PEEK-A-BOO” or just “A-BOO” in their face. Repeat. We prefer “A-BOO”. In our estimation it is objectively funnier.
- Spa day. We’ve entered the My Little Pony phase, and the ponies went to a spa one day, so we’re leveraging that. Have them do spa stuff to you, like give you a massage, a pretend face mask, including pretend cucumber on your eyes. Maybe a new hairdo if you have the energy to sit up enough.
- Sneaky cat. You close your eyes and they are across the room, trying to sneak up on you, on all fours, of course. Open your eyes dramatically if you hear them, or if you just want to. If they don’t freeze as soon as you open your eyes, they go back to the beginning.
- Human spider. They pretend to casually walk by. You try to catch them. If you catch them you hoist them on top of you and wrap your legs around them. They scream and thrash while you eat them. Once you have eaten them, you let them go.
- Pet shop. If pet shops are their thing (or any shops for that matter) call the shop on the phone and ask if they deliver. If they don’t say, “oh well, I guess we can’t play then.” If they do (they will now) order an animal and all the necessary supplies to be delivered to your “house,” the couch. Make the order as complicated as possible, as this buys time. You can also elaborate on why you need delivery. Perhaps you are ill, or there has been a storm. As soon as you have received your delivery, call back with a problem or something else you need. Or use a different voice and order a whole other animal.
- Balancing things. They find things around the room to balance on your stomach. That’s it.
Now some of these do require a bit of energy, but in my experience, it’s worth it to be able to remain horizontal. If you’d like, rate these ideas by how much effort they would take for you, and choose what activity to try that way.
One final tip. Once you are completely exhausted, pretend to fall asleep and snore loudly. They will try to wake you up for a while and then get frustrated and leave. Then you can actually fall asleep. Or look at your phone. Oh yeah, that should be rule one — never lie down without your phone nearby, just in case.