After a long day of work and a long day of school for my five-year-old, we both came home desperately needing to wind down. How did we know that? Well, the easy tantrum attitude that he got going on and my thin patience, both taught us that real fast! We tried a few different methods, some worked, and some didn’t, but ultimately, we figured it out! Here’s what worked:
1. Having a drink ready for him and his favorite blanket on the coach, automatically got him into
the “now we are home and can relax” mode.
2. Having a ‘free play toy’ ready on the floor also allowed for some winding down vibes. A free play
toy, is something a kid can play with on their own, it lets them use their imagination, and allows
their thoughts to run freely!
3. Our ultimate winding down activity was drawing his world and playing in it!
This activity was discovered by accident. I put his road mat and some cars out for him to play with, thinking that that’s a good free play activity. However, on that winter day, he came home in a particularly irritable mood and refused to play with what he claimed to be his “old and not so fun road mat” and requested a new one.
At that point, the time-tested mom guilt had kicked in. Thoughts such as maybe he’s too long in school or maybe someone said something hurtful to my baby were all creeping in… So I decided to give in to the idea that the road mat was no fun. It suddenly struck me that we can make our own play mat! We rolled out some white paper, got some markers and stencils and went to work.
To please him, I asked him to tell me what he wanted me to draw on the road mat. Soon he started instructing me exactly how to draw his school building, where the windows and doors go, where the buses picking up and dropping off will park, and how the road turns when leaving the school. I noticed him physically relaxing as he played out his day. He started with school drop off, then we drew the park and he used his toy cars to pretend play the hectic scene of the busses leaving the school. He put his cars where the traffic rushes around the building and instructed me to draw the other places he passed on the way to and from school. He colored the school building in the same colors as his school is and completed the mat by coloring our house. He continued to play on that mat for the better half of an hour! At some point I suddenly realized his mood had drastically improved! he was relaxed and didn’t even throw a tantrum by the time I served him his not so favorite supper…
After doing this activity of drawing and coloring his little world on paper and letting him ride around with his little cars on it – it unexpectedly dawned on me what a great activity this was! It allowed him to organize his thoughts about the day by replaying the comings and goings. It opened outlets for conversation about his day. After an exhausted day of work and school, what a gift it was to be to be able to connect and bond over this relaxing activity! I knew I had to share this activity with more moms and got to work. After a year I had finally figured out how to structure this so it is sellable and can reach more moms and kids to allow them all to relax and wind down! The 2 in 1 Coloring Poster and Play Mat was born! Click here to check it out Coloring Poster and Playmat !
View more, it's free.
I’m a mom to two spunky little boys! Being a mom, working with children as a licensed social worker and selling magical crafts and toys are all my passions! I strive to live life in color and experience life in all its splendor, every messy and kid filled moment. Since I discovered it, I have become a strong advocate of gentle parenting. I would love to encourage all parents to treat themselves with more kindness and spread the kindness and light to their children and the world! Joining children in their imaginative, everything possible world is a great hobby of mine!
I am immensely grateful to you for joining me in my journey!
Holidays and special occasions look a little different at our house. My son Stalen, is 7 years old, amazing, autistic and non-speaking. He also has sensory and medical challenges. He isn’t...read more