I’ve heard it so many times before: ‘I wish this kid would go to sleep so I could get something done!’ Ummm… when my kids are sleeping, you can bet I’m sleeping with them! When I need to get most things done, I take them with me. I let Margo play my iPhone a few times a day, but we don’t have a tv, and we don’t have a huge amount of toys, other than the good old wooden ones. Anyway, do kids ever really play with their toys? To make it more interesting, throw in a newborn and a mommy who’s still a bit too tired to go running around town with her little four week old baby and toddler. So, what to do with a high maintenance toddler who is too smart for her own good, talks a mile a minute and is eager to learn everything and wants to do everything herself? She does go to daycare one day a week, I know she absolutely loves it and looks forward to that day… but for all the other days… Rather than try to distract her while I get things done, she does them with me. It may take a little longer… (and requires a bit more patience), but it’s WAY easier and more fun! And, what to do with little newborn lump if she’s awake or unsettled? Take her with us too!
I do get Margo busy playing with things sometimes. I like to set her up with some paint on the balcony and she makes a huge mess. She lets me know when she’s done and then she spends almost as much time washing her hands in the bathroom as she did doing the painting. Or sometimes she’ll string beads or do some drawing, copying shapes and numbers, etc. while I’m sewing. But, most of the time, I go back to ‘what would the cave people have done?’ Now, I know the cave people didn’t know how to read and write, which is something we can teach our kids to do now… But, I bet, instead of trying to distract their kids so that they could get something done, they would be teaching their kids to help them. You would be amazed by how much Margo can help me, and she’s only 2 1/2!
I get her involved with everything! Dishes, cooking, laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, helping get fresh clothes when baby has done a spit up, etc. I even make her get me a fresh pad (ok, I know TMI, but I’m postpartum people!), and peel the stickers off. Anything I can do to get her involved, I know is teaching her something. We still have quality sit down and learn time, when I do letters, numbers, etc. with her. But, she doesn’t need to be ‘playing’ all the time. I think in our society, entertaining kids constantly is something parents think they need to do. If you read on all the toy boxes, ‘provides hours of entertainment!‘ (yeah right). Ok, sometimes, I don’t have patience, or something needs to get done quickly, so I have to just tell her to play with her dolls or something. But, when I’m on the ball, these girls are coming with me and helping! It’s the way things go in this house. I still feel like I could come up with a thousand more things for her to do!
So, who has some suggestions?! What do you do to keep your toddlers busy? This Margo keeps me on my toes, and I can always use new ideas!