Before I was a parent, I would’ve scoffed at this title ”Embrace The Five Minute Adventure.” What kind of adventure can you possibly have in five minutes? Now, as a parent, I’m aware with ninja-like precision the value of time. You see a minute to a parent is a lifetime; you underestimate what a child can achieve in a minute.
It only takes 60 seconds for my folded laundry to become Mount Clothesville, or for my son to throw the mother of all tantrums in aisle 6 when I say “no, we don’t need 3 boxes of Nutrigrain.” A minute of bathroom time alone for a parent is a five star hotel, and if you have more than one child, you know a minute is exactly enough time for a war to break out between siblings.
We all dream our Parent-Pinterest dreams and imagine the adventures we’ll have. Carefully constructed playtime, wearing our smocks and enjoying activities that are both fun and educational. Painting, play dough, sensory buckets; the vibrant and creative world of adventures – as a first time mum I couldn’t wait.
My first experience was play dough, and he loved it. That is to say, he loved putting it in his mouth and trying to bite me with his new front teeth as I fished it out. Next, I tried painting. He wasn’t interested in what I’d prepared but he did try his hand at a kitchen remodel in the brightest neon-yellow.
The truth is; parents are human, and parenting is messy. We put so much pressure on ourselves to create this Pinterest-perfect childhood and schedule their days with arts, crafts, swimming lessons, music lessons and creative family adventures in the hopes that we’re striking the perfect balance between quality and quantity.
This mindset can make things unnecessarily hard. In reality, kids are pretty easy to please. A quick 5 minutes spent on something low key and easy can be enough to fill their cup, fire their imagination and create the spark for an afternoon of self directed play. All this pressure is not just bad for us, it’s mostly totally unnecessary.
That’s why we’ve rebelled against Pinterest-Perfect-Parenting and are embracing the 5 Minute Adventure.
Because life is messy. Instead of curating and modelling our lives to picture perfection, we want to live in the moments with our children. Whether you work inside or out of the home, time is rare and valuable and these rosy cheeked, chubby thighed cherubs of ours are little time sucks.
So we’re cutting out the middle man. No more internet research for two hours, no more weekends spent at Spotlight and Riot and no more Pinterest walls saying ‘Activities.’ The 5 Minute Adventure is exactly that. No pretence, no outcome, just fantastically messy moments in life that you can share with your child.
Play in the mud, hunt for ants, play hide and seek in Mount Clothesville, make up stories about funny shaped clouds; whatever floats your boat. In just 5 minutes, you can add something to your child’s memory bank and ensure you’re spending quality time with them each and every day.
We’re not saying you can’t enjoy other activities, but we want you to know that it’s okay to feel guilty – we all do. We all have thoughts that we aren’t spending enough time or don’t pay enough attention to our child/ren. Instead of investing more energy into elaborate and time-consuming activities, let’s just put aside 5 minutes for our little adventurers.
Something short and sweet that embraces whatever messy moment you find yourself in. Some ideas to get you started might include:
1. Have a “Senses” hunt. What can you hear/feel/smell/see (Skip taste!)
2. Spell out your name (or initials) in sticks
3. Spot something beginning with the first letter of your name
4. Pick a cloud that is an interesting shape and make up a story based on what it looks like
5. Colour walks – pick a colour and have your toddler find things in that colour. Photograph it
If you haven’t already, follow us on Instagram or Facebook. Over the next few weeks leading up to the Aussie summer, we’re going to post some of our 5 Minute Adventure ideas. We’d love to hear your ideas.