Every parent knows that kids can sometimes be downright exhausting. It seems like they have boundless energy, and it can be impossible to keep up with them. Do you ever wish you could lie down, just for a moment, but your kid just won’t seem to let you? Writing for Lifehacker’s Offspring, Michelle Woo explains the brilliant concept of “horizontal parenting.”
Huh? Yep, it turns out there are plenty of activities you can do with your kiddos while you’re horizontal, in other words, lying down. It sounds too good to be true, I know, but Woo makes it sound so easy. She breaks the activities down into three levels: beginner, intermediate and expert, which correspond to how much mental energy and effort you have to put into them. Here is a sampling of suggested activities from each level that will have you saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
At this level, you’ll be so relaxed that you’ll practically feel like you got in an honest-to-goodness nap once you’re done.
- Read books: Snuggle up on the couch and open up “Goodnight Moon.” Simple as that. Since it’s not bedtime, you won’t even mind when your kid insists, “Read it again!”
- “Walk on my back”: No time for a spa day? No problem. Get a massage in and entertain your little one at the same time. My dad used to play this one frequently with me when I was a kid. Little did I know he was sneaking in some much-needed down time.
- “Guess the letter on my back”: My sister and I used to play this one before going to bed (and ended up staying up way too late as a consequence). Take turns writing letters or phrases on each other’s backs with your fingers and guessing what they are.
These activities might take a bit more prep time, but don’t worry—you’ll be off your feet in no time.
- Go “camping”: No, you don’t need to take off to the wilderness for the weekend. Just set up a tent in the living room or backyard, and do any of the “beginner” activities in there. Your kids will feel like they’re on an adventure in their own home.
- Play “salon/barbershop”: This is another one that I thought my mom was doing for my benefit, but now I suspect she probably enjoyed it just as much! Lie back, relax, and let your kids style your hair. You might not look like you got a professional blowout when they’re finished, but the peace and quiet is worth it.
These games take “horizontal parenting” to the next level.
- Scavenger hunt: As a kid, I loved going on scavenger hunts. The adults would make us a list of things to go door to door and ask neighbors for: something blue, a penny, something round, etc. Kick back on the couch and send your kiddo searching for items throughout your own house.
- “Mommy’s legs are roads”: Lay down on the floor on your side, and let your kids go to town with their toy trucks and cars on your legs. Genius!
Get the full list of activities at Offspring.