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Keep ’em Busy!

How to keep a toddler busy

Keeping them busy!  Goldie even woke up for a smile!

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!

10 Responses »

  1. I’m with you! My kids help with almost everything in the house!

    Reply
  2. My toddler is very into helping, but only if the task is repetitive and easy to learn. Yes to dishes, sweeping, vacuuming. He also loves pulling weeds, sorting beads by color, scooping poker chips into trucks and dumping them in buckets, and baking. Plus unwinding the toilet paper, sorting the spoons then dumping them on the floor, and using kitchen tongs to carefully remove the dirt from houseplants.

    Get a copy of “the toddler busy book.” Lots of ideas for projects that aren’t really projects.

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  3. I work online so I constantly have a laptop in my lap! One new thing that we do is open junk mail and give it to my son. He gets a pen and “fills out paperwork” while I do work on my computer, and it accomplishes the impossible–keeping my three-year-old stationary! When I’m doing dishes in the kitchen, my son Ryder has to put things away where they belong or help set the table. We cook together a bunch; he helps me measure ingredients, pour them in, and mix them up. After three years, I am attempting to get my pre-baby body back, so when I go for a run, I take him with me and he LOVES it! I think my all time favorite is “painting the bricks.” When we go to my grandmother’s house, we give Ryder water and paint brushes and he paints the house–it’s a never ending project!

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    • Wow! That’s amazing! Sounds like ‘hard work’, but imagine the longterm benefits. I can’t wait to see what happens when my 2 1/2 year old gets a little older! Maybe one day I’ll wake up to breakfast on the table?

      Reply
  4. That’s really nice, teaching your toddler while having fun. It’s really important to keep these toddlers busy. Hat’s off to you! And I envy you for being a full time mom! 🙂

    Btw, it’s my first time to drop by on your blog. I enjoy reading it. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Why the cave people carved sleigh cribs, dug play pen pits, and wove exersaucer baskets! Silly goose. LOL

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