Close this search box.

5 Activities to do With Kids For Moms Who Are  Burnt Out and Exhausted

May 30, 2022

Libby Ward holder her son while her husband and daughter look into the distance.

The ONLY way I have time to read!

kids activities for exhausted moms to be more present

As a mom who has done everything from stay at home to work outside the home to work from home and everything in between, I speak from experience when I say “making time to be present with your kids is hard”. 

I understand how difficult and frustrating it can be to make time for your kids; and not just any time, quality time. Time outside of being in the same room together while making sure they’re fed, clean and at their extracurricular activities on time. Carrying the mental load and managing a household steals so much of our energy and brain space that there can be little left for the fun stuff. 



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Honest Mom (Libby) (@diaryofanhonestmom)

Realizing I Was Often too Tired or Busy to be The Fun Mom

I always thought I was going to be the fun mom, but because I am the parent that spends the most time with our kids, I am often the disciplinary one who has to choose housework over sitting down and playing. I sometimes feel even worse when my husband comes home from work and still manages to spend time with the kids even when he’s tired. But we all have different capacities for different things. Remember that and try not to let the guilt creep in.

So, what do you do when your emotional energy is drained from parenting all day every day and your physical energy is depleted by the ongoing monotony of housework, and all you need is a moment to yourself? Then when you DO choose yourself over being the fun mom, you end up with mom guilt? The answer might surprise you…

@diaryofanhonestmom The pressure we put in ourselves is just ridiculous #momlife #momguilt #mommyguilt #realmomlife #motherhoodunplugged #relatablemom ♬ Love You So – The King Khan & BBQ Show

Practising Self-Care Helps Me Be More Present with My Kids!

I know, it’s not the first thing you think of when you’re trying to find more time for the kids, but listen friends: No matter what’s going on in your life, schedule in some self-care first. It doesn’t have to be complicated, extravagant or time consuming, but it’s worth it – you can’t pour from an empty cup even though at times it feels like that’s exactly what we’re doing. 

Don’t worry, the list of activities is coming. You first, mama!

Why fit in some self-care before putting on the fun-mom hat? Once you’ve filled your cup a little and are feeling even slightly recharged, you will be able to bring a new energy to being the FUN mom. The best part is that these 5 fun-mom activities won’t leave your mind, body OR bank account any less depleted – I promise!

I’ve learned that I cannot fully engage with my kids if I go into my time with them absolutely spent. I would rather have less time with them that is fun and engaging than more time where my mind is elsewhere because I am too tired.

Activities with Kids are Better When We Focus On Quality Over Quantity

One important thing before we get started:

Quality over Quantity. 

I’m sure you’ve heard this before but the type of time you spend with your child matters, especially if you’re wanting to wear the fun-mom hat. The good news is that you don’t need to spend oodles of money or time on quality time with your kiddos. 

Spending a small amount of relaxed and genuinely happy time with your child does so much more for them than doing an activity that takes a lot out of you, like a trip to an amusement park, mall or going on a staycation. There is a time and place for those big moments if they’re accessible to you, but we’re focusing on the little ones right now, the ones that really count.

5 Activities For Busy Burnt Out Moms to do With Their Kids

Here are my top 5 activities I do with my kids to ensure I create space for quality time in our busy schedules. Occasionally we can get down on the floor to play the things that they love, but these activities aren’t that. You’re welcome!

#1 Kids Activities for Exhausted Moms: Do What You Love!

You might have to think about this for a second, so take a moment and try to come up with three activities or hobbies you enjoy doing on your own. Once you have them, find ways to incorporate your kids! Some examples:

  • Reading
  • Baking
  • Biking
  • Crafting


I recently started using my Cricut cutting machine with my daughter because I love using it. She likes crafting too, but I know she just likes the quality time as much as anything. 

Doing what we love is a perfect way to introduce your kids to a part of you they might not have known existed. Moms can have fun too!

#2 Kids Activities for Exhausted Moms: Watch Their Favourite Show or Movie

You might think watching something on TV doesn’t count as quality time, but it does when you’re intentional about it. Find out what they love so much about their movie by asking some questions. 

My kids love watching animal shows or shows about different places in the world. We would occasionally make a living room picnic and watch one of their shows and pretend we were in the show with them. 

Make note of the moments they find funny, sad or scary and take some time after the movie to discuss those things. This creates so much more connection than passively watching.

#3 Kids Activities for Exhausted Moms: Living Room Games

Activity 3: Living Room Games

Anything I can do from the comfort of my living room is a win for me, especially on those extra tired days. These are the times I bring in old-school fun like building forts, freeze-dance, Simon says, I spy and hot potato. If board games are a thing in your house, bring those out too! Some of them can take up more time than you would think. 

Pro tip: I often find that engaging for 5 minutes to get a game started gets their creative juices flowing and then they might not even want me to participate anymore. And honestly, sometimes that is a win in and of itself. 

Libby Ward looking over a fence in a green field with her two children

#4 Kids Activities for Exhausted Moms: Get Outside

The possibilities are endless and the effort is minimal when it comes to bringing the kids outside, especially now that the weather is warmer. Plus, you’ll all get the added health benefits of the sunshine and fresh air.

Collecting items like rocks, sticks or flowers for a fun project another day, drawing with sidewalk chalk, bubbles, washing toys or bikes… If there’s snow on the ground, this activity isn’t recommended if your child needs a lot of assistance getting dressed, OR if you really can’t stand the cold.

Bonus feature: Kids don’t seem as loud outside which means mom is less overstimulated. 

#5 Kids Activities for Exhausted Moms: Housework!?

Seriously… When all else fails and the housework calls, bring them along. Go into it knowing it’ll take a while and won’t be perfect, but it fills the time and the work might actually get done. 

I know they are likely to be calling ‘mom’ more times than I can count (which is extremely distracting, especially for us ADHD mamas), so I bring them along! It might take a little longer to load the washing machine or spread the peanut butter on the bread (and the counter, and the clothes…) but when done in a relaxed fashion, household chores CAN be fun!

BONUS Activity for Moms with Kids who are Teens

Quality Time with TEENS? Challenge Accepted.

Although I’m not there yet, I’ve talked to many moms who are and this is what I’ve heard: If you want to be around your teen, lie around with them on your phone while they’re on their phone/gaming system. It might seem ridiculous and we would love for them to be doing literally anything else, but that’s where they’re at, and when we are tired and looking for a way to connect without dealing with pushback and leaving the house, tech-time can be TERRIFIC.

The important part of this ‘activity’ is to make it intentional, like the movie activity above. Tech time can be turned into quality time by you lying there or sitting there beside them occasionally interacting, asking them a few non-invasive questions, and maybe doing some funny filters or sharing some favourite influencers. 

I hope these activities are ones that you will be able to easily incorporate into your life. Always remember, no matter what you’re capable of doing or how fun you feel that you are, you are a GOOD MOM. You are ENOUGH.

@diaryofanhonestmom There are so many ways to be a good mom #momlife #martyrdom #realmomlife #motherhood #goodmoms #imperfectmom #momtok ♬ Send Me on My Way – Guy Meets Girl

Let me know in the comments if any of these tips were helpful, and share your favourite easy ways to be present and engage with your kids when you don’t feel like the fun mom. 

And don’t forget to follow along with my real mom life shenanigans and honest mom truths on Instagram and Tiktok! 


- Libby

Libby Ward in a dark blue tank top and jeans smiling at the camera

The ONLY way I have time to read!

Get the Latest from Libby

An email list you actually want to be on.

Share Post:

3 Responses

  1. I just want to say thank you for validating all the ways I spend time with my kids LOL
    I totally feel like the un-fun mommy, but realized I’m still connecting with my kids in many ways, & that we all laugh together, each day… even if it means sharing stupid or ridiculous memes with my teenagers, & tickling my toddlers between episodes of Mickey & the Roadster Racers!

  2. Thanks for the article. I have to admit that I may have my kids outside a bit more than I should, but with the sunshine and the warm weather here, I can’t help it. Plus, we are so close to the beach in Mandria, Paphos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Community

If you are overwhelmed by motherhood, you’re not alone. Join the Honest Mom community for connection & resources as we navigate burnout in motherhood.

Join The Honest Mom Community

Are you an overstimulated mom? Join the club. You’re not alone, and we’re here to help with support and resources to tackle it because you shouldn’t have to struggle alone. Join now!