The Spoonie Parents Activity Guide - Ways to Survive and Thrive.

What is a 'spoonie parent' you might ask?

Well a spoonie person, generally is someone who is navigating and managing a disability, be it a, chronic illness, condition, disease or syndrome on the daily. The spoon theory is used to explain the available mental and / or physical energy a person has in a single day to perform tasks of daily living and / or work, pleasure and hobbies etc. Spoons are used to exemplify how much energy individual tasks or activities require.

So lets say a person has 12 spoons to spread out over an entire day before they crash and hit a wall of fatigue, pain, mental exertion etc. One spoon might be required simply to get out of bed. Having a shower and preparing breakfast might use up another 2 or 3 spoons from the 12 available. Already as you can see a person with chronic illness or disability quickly burns through their 12 spoons allotted for the day. Recouping spoons is only achieved through periods of active rest.

The spoon theory easily explains the limits to energy that people with disability and / or chronic illness experience. 

So a 'spoonie parent' is probably pretty self explanatory now. It's a parent, who has the huge task of raising and caring for children with limited energy reserves (A limited number of spoons each day). Every decision requires evaluation of the spoons required to perform a task or activity (a running mental balance sheet of spoons in and out).

For example if I take my children to the playground after preschool, there is a good chance physically I will be unable to prepare an evening meal (thank goodness for UberEats hey). I will have used all my spoons. For me even the act of getting my children ready for preschool in the morning and then dropping them to preschool can exhaust my morning spoons and a period of rest is required before I can continue with any daily activities. 

So with all of this in mind I have decided to make this blog a working document where I will list and detail little hacks that I implement and have put in place to make my life as a 'spoonie parent' a little easier. I'll share easy and nutritious recipes, activities which once set up children can do fairly independently and simple ways to engage children (even toddlers) to help around the home. 

 Activity: (Very low spoons) 

  •  Have a doctors kit (we love this GreenToys Ambulance and Doctors set) and bag on hand for your children. Toddlers especially 2-4 years old love imaginary play. The benefits of this activity is you can lay on the lounge and be the patient while they tend to you. It's also beneficial ín assisting children understand your illness or disability. They can process and role play scenarios they have seen you experience. (my children very often diagnosis me with a sore neck when we have our Doctor's kit in use)

Activity: (Moderate use of spoons) 

  • Kinetic Sand: Whilst this isn't low spoons as the clean up can be on the big side. It has at times brought me a FULL HOUR of downtime when my two toddlers have happily played by themselves. Kitchen utensils and sand moulds, little spades / diggers etc are great. We have also buried dinosaurs and rocks for 'hunting' and 'exploring'.
To get the kids involved in the clean up this Melissa & Doug kids cleaning    set is great.

Activity: (Moderate use of spoons when you need to batch make Play-Doh)

  • Never fail Play-Doh recipe 
2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup of table salt
2 tablespoons of cream of tartar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 & 1/2 cups of boiling water (mix in a little food colouring)

Mix all dry ingredients and add water until you achieve desired consistency. 

Have plenty of sticks, rocks, nature items and a variety of play-doh tools on hand. I have found this activity can give me 45 minutes to an hour also of time where the boys are happy to play independently. 

Activity: (Super LOW spoons)

  • Paint an old sheet. I haven't actually done this yet, but it was suggested by my sister-in-law and I have it set aside to do on a day I really need a break.
  • Simply hang an old sheet on the clothes line, give the kids some paint pots and let them go for it! 

Activity: (Super LOW spoons)

  • Montessori inspired treasure hunt. Sit and set tasks. Find 5 blue items, find 10 things starting with the sound '____'. You can even set a timer to give them a time-frame to complete each 'hunt'. This is best suited to older toddlers, 2.5 years and up. 


Janna ZB x

** As always feel free to fire away below with any comments or questions or DM me through Instagram @zebrablends









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