I already mentioned earlier this week that entertaining a toddler can be challenging. After that lovely long summer holiday, I wanted to share with you the things I learned that made it a little easier.
I’m a real inside-girl. The things I love to do work best inside the house. Writing, reading in a comfortable chair, cooking,… it has always been like that, my parents had to chase me outside when I was little (and they did, they really did). Little Boy will play outside whenever he can. The look on his face when he stands at the window and see it’s pouring outside is simply heartbreaking. He does like variation though, a change of scenery from time to time. Think bike rides, stroller walks, playgrounds, local natural domains, zoo, … It’s a pity we didn’t have the sun-loaded summer days like last year, there was quite a lot of rain. So we really took advantage the sunny days.
Structure your day somehow.
From the very start of his life, I knew I was mother to a kid that appreciates structure. Even though I love lists, I am not a really well-structured person. I love the calm of my home, but I can fall asleep wherever and whenever I want, I can eat at different times every day and just follow my pace. Little Boy is different. He needs his naps, and he needs some sense of routine. Unfortunately, the first weeks of summer he was struggling with a change in his sleeping pattern – transitioning to one nap, very early mornings, difficult nights… We had to see it through and knowing it would pass once he settled for a new schedule. So we structured our days around the meals. I have a kid that loves to eat, so that was a good option. We have a bottle of milk, shortly after followed by breakfast, a morning snack (fruit or a milk shake if he didn’t have a bottle in the morning), lunch, afternoon snack, evening meal and a bottle of milk. I tried to drop the first bottle, but he simply doesn’t drink enough water during the day to make that possible.
Forget you’ve ever had a clean house (as if…)
At first I tried to keep up. I can vacuum while LB is awake, but that’s about it. And it’s not an easy job, sometimes he wants to help, which is hard, sometimes he just takes advantage of the noise and sneaks away to do stuff he knows he shouldn’t. Dishes, preparing meals? Forget it, for him it’s just a sign to climb in his chair and demand food. I don’t even know why I had though for a minute that I could skip the cleaner during summer holidays. Bad decision.
Television isn’t so bad at all
I was one of those mothers that honestly wanted to try to raise her child with as little television as possible. I think, and I still do, children will get enough screen time in their life anyway. But then there was Studio 100. It’s commercial, I know, and it’s everywhere. But they have nice programs. And they play clips at any moment of the day. My boy loves it. And I simply couldn’t believe how much he learned from those things. I must confess: television is on a big part of the day, but Little Boy is not continuously watching. I can even say he actually watches less and less, even if it’s on. We first put on television when I had to leave early for school and my husband was still in the shower – it was a good distraction in those times he had to wait in his park or his seat. Now he’s watching for five minutes, and then goes find his cars or something else to play with. Television can be mind numbing, but, especially with Little Boy, it’s a great conversation starter too. We point out the things he knows, like ducks, or vehicles. Or we’re imitating dances, sing along with the songs, learn new words.
Limit toy choice
I’m a sucker for toys. Sometimes I guess I buy them more for me than for Little Boy. Especially wooden toys are hard to resist. But I’ve learned that the more choice there is for my kid, the more toys he just gets out and the less he actually plays with them. So I set up a rotation system to keep things new and interesting. I wanted to add art supplies to that, so we could alternate playing with his toys with creating things, but my boy is not a pencil lover. He eats them. Every time. He knows perfectly how to use them, but he doesn’t find it a very interesting activity. Oh well. The thing is, when we spent a week at the beach and had only a very limited toy supply with us, it kept him interested and entertained for the whole week. Lesson learned.
What do you keep in mind when spending long periods of time with your toddler? Maybe you’re a stay at home mother and can learn me a lot? I’d love to hear it in the comments.