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  • Writer's pictureAlba Macareno

Horizontal Parenting: How to entertain your child when you are tired

Horizontal Parenting: Play Ideas for your child when you are tired
Horizontal Parenting: Ways to entertain your child when you are tired

Who has not been in the situation where your child wants to play with you, but you are so tired that you just cannot entertain them? Have you tried “horizontal parenting"? Here is everything you need to know about horizontal parenting.

What is horizontal parenting?

Horizontal parenting or "parenting in the horizontal position," refers to engaging with children while lying down. Whether it's on the couch, bed, or simply on the floor, the location doesn't matter. The important thing is that you can rest while entertaining your children. But what is the benefit of this?

Quite simply, sometimes our own energy levels are as depleted as the popcorn container after a trip to the movies with kids, yet they continue to run around the house. With horizontal parenting, you can fulfil your parental duties while simultaneously resting. Sounds brilliant? It is! All you need is a bit of imagination and a comfortable surface where you can relax.

Ideas for playing games while lying down

Autobahn: The road is your legs. Your children let the cars drive around on you, which can even feel like a massage.

Baby - Reverse the roles: You're the little kid who desperately needs to sleep and rest right now. Then it needs to be pampered and fed.

Back Guessing Game: Your child draws their finger on your back, you guess what it should be. This can be done with letters, words, pictures or the time. Variant: What's the weather like? The child simulates rain, snow or wind with their fingers. Feels wonderful!

Carousel: you are in the middle, the children run around you. Variants: change of direction, "stop" as in the stop dance: whoever is the last to move has lost. Another variant: "Walk like a ..." - for example, an elephant, a cat, a monkey.

Cloud pictures: Particularly suitable if you have the feeling that your child could use a break from time to time. What images and symbols do we recognise in the clouds above?

Fetch and take away: So simple, so effective! Ask your child to bring you different objects. For example, something blue or something that looks like a certain animal. Your child then has to put the object back in the exact place where it was found. You have to check if your child is bringing the object to the correct place - after all, as a responsible parent, you have an eye on every item in the apartment and you know exactly when something is not in the right place.

Hairdresser: Your child pretends to wash your hair while massaging your head. They will then do your hair, and cosmetic treatments are also possible, depending on the age of the child and the courage of the parents.

"I'll pack my suitcase... and take my toothbrush with me." Then it's the other person's turn: "I'll pack my suitcase and take my toothbrush and my teddy bear with me". And so on! Whoever forgets something from the ever-growing list has lost.

Interview: One of you is the star interviewing the other. An entertaining role-playing game.

I see something you don't see... and that's green/blue/square/round…

Pizza: You are the pizza, the child fills you with imaginary favourite ingredients, which can also be completely crazy.

Read a book: The classic, when really nothing else works. Of course it's not as unusual as some other ideas, but it always works well. Your kid will love it, and who knows, maybe he falls asleep while reading.

Stuffed animal gossip: Let the cuddly toy talk in a disguised voice. The craziest things can happen: It tells what it did today when the family was away. Your child gets into conversation - maybe it even expresses things or concerns that it would not otherwise bring up. Or the animal can suddenly only speak the language your child is learning at school, such a coincidence!

The Couch Monster: This game also requires a certain effort. First you pull the couch away from the wall and clear away any objects that could fall over. Then you can start. You lie down on the sofa and let your child run around it. In between you pretend you're a monster that wants to eat this delicious treasure. As a bonus, your child will be pretty exhausted afterwards.

The ninja: You lie on the couch or the floor with your eyes closed and the children have to sneak past or over you as quietly as they can. If they are too loud, they have to start all over again. This has two advantages. First, it's wonderfully quiet again, and second, it's not noticeable when you fall asleep. Almost a win-win situation.

Visiting the doctor: You are the patient, you feel ill and you need to be treated by the doctor – your child. Convince him to put you on strict bed rest. You can play it also by being an animal, and your child is the veterinarian.

Watching without laughing: It is so simple, so clever; looking into each other's eyes. Making faces is allowed, but no noises. Who is going to be the first to laugh? The first one to laugh loses! A variant could be who can be longer quiet? Admittedly, this game doesn't always work, because not every child reacts to it in the same way. Depending on age and mood, it can be longer or shorter.

Tents: All the games mentioned can also be played in a tent - the child will remember the valuable time with you as even more exciting and particularly adventurous.

As you can see there are numerous games that you can play with your child when you are exhausted and need to lay down. It is okay to take time if you feel exhausted and the only thing you want is to sit or lay down.

However, there is one thing parents should keep in mind: "Children are allowed to be bored," emphasises family therapist Anette Frankenberger. It is even important to demonstrate idleness and doing nothing to them. In doing so, children learn the importance of self-care and that everyone needs breaks from time to time.

If someone is in need of such a break, they can tell their children, for example, "I'm going to rest for 30 minutes, and then I'll be there for you again." However, it is crucial to follow through on such statements so that the child can rely on what you say.

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