You sit on the floor with your 7 month old and roll a ball toward her. She giggles with delight and then, fumbling around, rolls it back to you.
You hand a bowl of ice to your 11 month old and he touches it, tastes it and squeals with delight as it melts and slips through his little fingers.
Your 13 month old races to the back door first thing each morning, pleading with you to open it so he can get to his drum kit; a few assorted boxes and pans upturned. He plays for almost an hour at a time.
Toddlers: as much fun as they are, it can also be a bit tricky to keep up with what’s stimulating for your little one and how to find some time for yourself. Here are some suggestions which may help.
The best gift of all
Kids of all age want you more than anything else. But, as a mother it’s also important you get a few moments to yourself and your child/ren learns to play independently. My experience is that if you play meaningfully with your child first, then more likely to happily play independently for a while.
Structuring your day
It’s a good idea to have a few outings during the week but at least one or two days at home. While the days at home are meant to provide some down time, little ones need some direction for their independent play.
Children don’t need a lot of toys, they just need access to a few items to encourage imaginative play. A list of age & developmentally appropriate toys and activities can be found: Games to Play with Babies – Activity Ideas for Newborns to 1 Year Olds
The day can feel very long if you have an early waker. Here are some suggestions for how to approach the day:
* Get ready the night before by getting clothes out, packing up food for an outing & making sure your nappy bag is well stocked. Work out where you are going be it the park, pool or a playdate.
* Get up & out early. Getting out is a good way to burn some energy & help you feel like you have done something.
* If you are staying home think of what activities you can set out for your child to play with. Keep your play area and toys tidy, kids play better when everything is in it’s place.
What is the hardest part of your day? For me it’s the afternoon. By then I’m feeling a bit tired, the dinner-bed-bath time is looming and I’m normally doing most of that on my own. If I want this time to go smoothly then it’s imperative I have thought ahead about what we are going to do and how we are going to make it work.
A word about sleep
Sleep is one of the biggest stress factors for mums. Are they getting any? Are their kids doing it? While you will often find a 6-12 month old having two day sleeps and a 12-18month old having one, there are no hard and fast rules. Rather than worrying about it (easier said than done, I know) chart the patters for a week or so so you get an idea of what your kids do sleep wise and then plan your days around that. Rather than planning for a day sleep when they only have one 50% of the time, make two plans – one for if they do sleep and one for if they don’t. That way, if they don’t have the sleep you might avoid feeling overwhelmed by it and rather can put Plan B. into action.
For more ideas from Louisa, visit her blog here: Everything is Edible — Activities for Babies
Louisa has a background in Early Childhood and is Mum to two wee ones, Miss Bliss and Little Bear. She finds life with her kids fun but frantic, and feels so blessed to be Mum to her two. Louisa loves to-do lists, so much so, her husband had a pre-child one framed. However, these days her to-do lists never seem to get finished. Louisa writes most days at Everything is Edible.