© my mad little family

the joy and delight of william hunter howell.

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Call Me Crazy, But Staying In Is The New Going Out

 

 

If you had said that statement to me pre-parenting days, I’d have thought you were insane. But fast-forward to 2018, and I cannot deny that staying in often provides the biggest smiles of all!

 

That’s not to say our crazy little family don’t enjoy days out to the zoo, park theme parks, or beach. Likewise, our travel adventures are simply incredible. Still, staying in is a truly magical thing that I love to do too. Here are just some of the reasons why.

 

 

We can be ourselves

 

Our family is a little eccentric at times, and I’m sure yours is too. While we love to embrace our personality in public spaces, there’s nothing quite like the comfort of your home. Being surrounded by familiar settings and our loved ones enables us to express ourselves to the max. To borrow arguably the lamest quote in Hollywood history, “there’s no place like home”.

 

The little ‘in jokes’ and funny family quirks are there to be cherished. Moreover, by creating magical memories inside the home, it provides an added sense of joy. Even when I’m relaxing alone on the sofa (believe me, it’s a rarity), I can think back to those magic moments and smile. There’s no doubt in mind that this has played a vital role in learning to love the property.

 

 

We get more for our money

 

I’m almost certain that most families can relate to the feeling that family activities are or expensive than ever. A day out for a family of four easily creeps into the three-figure band, especially when you factor in the little costs like parking and food. Quite frankly, learning to enjoy the cheap things in life is almost a necessity. Thankfully, many of the home-based activities are ones I’d actively choose.

 

Perhaps the most obvious candidate is movie night, which is something we absolutely adore. After all, we don’t simply stick a film on and leave it at that. The days of literal Netflix and chill in this house are long gone. And the days of the euphemistic Netflix and chill might as well be confined to the pages of history. Still, our family movie nights are a lot cheaper than a trip to the local cinema.

 

Best of all, nobody takes a phone call 20 minutes into the movie either. Hoorah!

 

 

We get messy

 

Part of me wants to pretend that I ooze coolness. But that’d be a lie. I’d love to say that arts and crafts are purely for the entertainment of the kids; it isn’t. Perhaps it’s because I love to play an active role in seeing the children smiling. Or maybe I’m just the biggest kid of all. Either way, our family craft times are a highlight that I look forward to time and time again.

 

It’s not all drawings and paintings, although they do adorn the fridge. With a little creativity and few materials from Glue Guns Direct, we’ve turned several toys into bedroom decorations. Similarly, scrapbooking and other arty projects have been used to provide a record for our kids to reminisce over in later life.

 

I used to think it was just a way to solve the problems of being stuck indoors on a rainy day. Honestly, though, even the heat way hasn’t stopped us unleashing our creativity. If only we had our own Mary Poppins to clean up the mess, it would be utter perfection.

 

 

We get fit

 

The natural preconception is to think that organised trips and sporting activities are the best way to get fit. On the contrary, the garden can be the perfect solution. It has become the secret weapon in keeping the kids active and maintaining balance in a digital world. If I’m honest, I’d probably be a few pounds heavier if it wasn’t for those activities too.

 

Kicking or throwing a ball, playing on the trampoline, and using the swingball set are all great options. Sometimes, simple gardening activities like growing fruit and veg can be the best option out there. Better still, it’s a great way to engage youngsters in nature, nutrition, and caring for another being. I love it; they love it, we love it.

 

 

We get to sleep

 

Ok, so I’m probably a little more thrilled about this one than the kids. Nonetheless, the fact that I can toddle off to bed at a reasonable hour is certainly a blessing. No long drives home while everyone else catches a few Zs. No sleeping in uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations. Just my nice, warm bed and a full 8 hours (if I’m lucky) of uninterrupted rest. What have I become...

 

Every parent knows how grumpy kids can get when they are tired. Moreover, a lack of sleep can leave us feeling even worse than we look. I’m not suggesting that you avoid ever having a night out again. Still, there’s nothing like waking up the next morning feeling fresh as a daisy thanks to the decision to stay in and enjoy some wholesome time as a family.

 

OK, maybe not quite as fresh as a daisy. But still far less tired.

 

 

We have more time

 

Time is the most valuable thing in life, and we never get it back. Make no mistake; the three-hour round trip to the theme park is worthwhile just to see your kids smile. However, there are a lot of more common activities that may consume a lot of time without giving that much back in return. Eating at restaurants with young kids is one that springs to mind.

 

In my humble opinion, it’s far better to grab a recipe from BBC Good Food and make it at home. You’ll spend time together as a family while it’s an excellent way for kids to learn and parents to monitor development. Besides, the kids are likely to enjoy those homemade foods more than a fancy restaurant meal too. The financial savings are merely a bonus.

 

 

I hope that some of these ideas have highlighted how enjoyable it can be to stay at home as a family. As long as you strike the right balance between the two ideas, your family leisure time is sure to provide more smiles than you ever thought possible. See, I’m not so crazy after all.

 

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