Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Keeping your toddler busy ALL DAY LONG

It's harder than one thinks....I'm finding that at least, my toddler, doesn't actually like playing with toys for longer than about 2 minutes at a time at this point. Not even all the super cook new Christmas Toys she got. (this picture is no one we know... but notice how ALL the toys are out of the container... just saying - there is no such thing as playing with one thing at a time)

Case in point, we bought Katie a Curious George Matching game and thought for sure it would take at least 20 minutes or so... we took all the cards out and laid them face up for her to match the pairs... she was done in about 4 minutes tops. That was my big activity for the morning... so I knew I was screwed.

I'm always surprised at how many working parents are at a loss with what to do with their kids when they are home with them for a full day that is a non weekend. Then I realize that their schedules are so busy that they probably have tons of errands, etc to do on the weekends like grocery shopping and stuff so they don't really experience a typical FULL DAY with a kid plus the novelty of having your parents home when they aren't normally... might be enough to keep them settled for a day or two.

This is why stay at home moms needs wine. It's HARD WORK. I feel like it's harder work the less kids you have. Kids entertain each other.

My best days are when Katie has a playdate because the kids pretty much take care of themselves, and me and my mommy friends can have an actual conversation and relax for a morning instead of constantly fretting over what activity to do next. So, I think if you have multiple children, they can help entertain each other - but I am finding being home with one child all day long, every day is beyond taxing. She gets frustrated and I want to pull my hair out.

So here are some things I try to do to help break up the monotony of being home all day.

1) Barnes and Noble Train Table - Katie loves playing there - so we go in the morning before naptime a little less than once a week

2) Local Libraries - some of them have awesome kids rooms - including a local one here in New Jersey that has a whole room with puzzles and tables and toys and a separate play area where the kids can be loud.

3) Playdates... I met some local moms who just happen to have kids Katie's age - I try to have one playdate with them a week. I kind of like breaking it up so that I can get 2 or 3 different playdates in the same week with different moms... but it's also nice to have them at the same time so it's a larger group.

4) Art Projects. Katie is obsessed - so painting, foam sticker projects, easy craft project kits - we made snowmen out of circles of my scrapbook paper and then I cut out hats, noses, etc... and I helped her glue them on. It was a hit. She also likes paint with water pages, but I find them annoyingly messy so am going to try to make my own.

5) Baking - Katie likes to help me bake - cookies or stuff that she can pour in and then help decorate or cut out (sugar cookies)

6) local museums - Children's Museums are great for a full morning activity but they can be a little pricey.

7) Play spots at the mall - we have a really nice one about 15 minutes away - we don't go often... but it's a treat and she likes it. We get there for when the mall opens and stay for about 45 mins tops... she really enjoys it.

When it's warm out - we go out once a day at least. We have an awesome park right across the street - and it was easier before I was pregnant and it got cold and all... but if you don't mind the cold and can chase a little one... outdoors on a warmer day does wonders for getting their energy out.

That's about all I have for ideas. We try to rotate those things as much as possible. Katie suffers from cabin fever pretty severely at this point and is super smart smart so I have run out of fun teaching material for the moment... which is why I am really hoping I can get her into daycare 2 - 3 mornings a week starting ASAP so that she can get playtime, circle time, crafts, etc... with other kids for 3 hours which will really help me out once the baby comes.

I wish you all luck in staying sane during the winter months... Don't be afraid to reach out to other mommies... we are all in it together. If you see someone at the park that looks normal and can complete a sentence... PURSUE it... that's how Katie and I met our good local friends - at the park, and then we took a class together and now we try to get together once a week with the girls and it's AWESOME!!!!!

For all you parents out there who have had a hard time keeping your children entertained during school vacations, etc.... make sure you give the stay at home moms you see out and about who look frazzled and scattered and tired an extra smile - they probably REALLY need it!!!!:) AND you should probably HUG your babysitters - often - especially if you have a babysitter that watches your only child... like I said - it's more work the less kids there are!

Leave comments with your ideas and activities - we all need the help!!!!!

Also... please share with me your biggest activity failure... for me it was painting for the 2nd time.
We tried to paint with a friend one day and she loved it. So I got her all kinds of stuff to do it and apparently it wasn't the same without her playmate... so she freaked out and refused to do it... it was a huge bummer for me as I had been looking forward to it for days!!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing! I was a working mom with my toddler in daycare. I'm home now with a high risk pregnancy and I feel so lost. You have given me some ideas of what to do with my high energy daughter.