The Don't Beat Yourself Up Guide to Entertaining Your Kids

There's loads of skills you have to immediately be good at when you have children. You quickly have to learn how to feed them, burp them, bath a teeny tiny little body without you all weeping in fear. Then you progress to trying to get them to sleep through the night, weaning them and the doom of potty training. These things are supposed to be innate. And I can vouch? Some of them are and some of them aren't. But we all muddle through. It's not often you see a man in his 20's sucking a dummy in a nappy (unless through choice. Vom).

But there is something else you need to become instantly good at. You need to become an 'entertainer'. You may be off with your baby on maternity leave, or looking after little ones as you are a SAHM.  And bless our kiddos they ruddy love us so hard they turn to us to provide entertainment. All. The. TIME! And I think this truly is one of the most exhausting parts of being a parent.

I am a teacher. I have worked with children for 11 years and am quite, quite used to looking after 32 of them for an hour, every hour, every day. This I can do. Easy peasy. But sometimes faced with just two small children. I am at an utter loss of what to do. My hand can quite often be found creeping towards the remote control and my thoughts cross to "Well CBeebies has got to be educational as it's about dinosaurs n sh*t". And then? I would feel guilty and begin planning rather ambitious painting projects and crafts that inevitably would take an hour to set up, seven minutes to complete and two hours to tidy away.

So. I think we have to be a little kinder to ourselves with regards to entertaining our little ones. I have mine alone for 11 hours three days a week. 33 hours. 33 HOURS!!! And I am sure there are Mums out there who could double this. Now let's be realistic I am not going to say "oh hey 33 hours of tele is going to be fine for your child". As we aren't daft and there is no advice book in the world that is going to offer up that little gem as a parenting tool. But why not look at the time you have with your kids and add up what you do minus our BFF 'the tele'?

Make meals TV free, sit at the table, invest in some Disney CDs or I dunno use this time to treat them to some Madonna education. Have a good old sing song. Boom! There's a couple of hours gone a day. Also get out of house if you can once a day. Walk to post a letter. Make a playdate with a mate. Visit your Mum. Go to soft play. Sometimes you can feel the pressure to attend one bazillion baby classes but this isn't for everyone, I couldn't stand baby club. However if you find one you can mildly tolerate it will give you a few hours respite from being the family clown.

Pop to poundland and stock up on cheap felts, sticker books. Anything you don't mind being trashed and thrown away instantly. I had a box. 'The Box of Crap'. And if my children were being particularly cray cray one day? I delved in the box and produced some sort of tat and that occupied them whilst I washed up. Other easy peasy things to do are read to them, play ENDLESS tea parties, and colouring. Now see what you have done with the time? With your sing songy breakfast, walk to visit Postman Pat to deliver a letter, reading a hilarious story in comedy voices and sitting to do some stickering and being offered some pretend tea? YOU MY FRIEND ARE A FRICKIN ENTERTAINER!

Let's get some perspective, after all those fab activities? If there are a few hours where they have Peppa on in the background. Or you all snuggle up in bed to watch Mulan, again, with a giant bowl of popcorn. That's OK! Bear in mind that from age 5-65 there won't be cuddles in front of Frozen. There will be school, there will be homework, there will be revision, deadlines and the general bore of being grown up. So let's not be too guilty if the TV is on a lot as there's a lot of time to fill and for most of it? You my friend are doing a sterling job.

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