Tired Mom’s Go-To List of Toddler Activities
I get to Stay at Home with my Toddler
I work from home. My husband leaves for work around 8 in the morning and returns around 9 pm. For those of you who haven’t met my daughter, she is 1.5 years old, gets bored easily, throws tantrums over the silliest stuff and is always running around the house. It is just me and my daughter for these 12 to 13 hours. If you can relate, you will know that it is a sure shot recipe for disaster. As mom to a toddler, I am constantly on the lookout for new and more engaging toddler activities. This post is mostly about that but also qualifies as a tired mom’s rant and I apologize for that in advance.
So, my toddler sometimes wakes up in the morning to bid a tearful goodbye to her dad. It is heartbreaking for her dad but later I am the one who has to convince her to stop bawling and go back to sleep. Once she is asleep, I know I have at least two hours if I am very quiet and nobody rings the doorbell. We have now removed the doorbell since everybody felt like ringing it only during those two hours or whenever she was asleep. My phone has also been on silent mode for the last 1.5 years. I carefully tiptoe out of the bedroom to quickly have some breakfast and complete a few chores or office work. Sometimes when I am too tired, I decide to sleep a few extra minutes. Those extra minutes almost always stretch to an hour and my routine for the rest of the day then naturally goes for a toss. These two hours flash by and before I know it, my toddler is already up and frantically looking for me. I quit whatever it is that I am doing to go attend to her, bathe her and feed her. I am already exhausted with her toddler activities and tantrums and it is only noon. If I am lucky, I am able to have my lunch peacefully. Other days, she sits on my lap and we eat from the same plate. I know it sounds cute and it is for a few seconds. So basically, she is happy and content as long as I am within arm’s reach.
All hell breaks loose the moment I need to step into the bathroom or head to the kitchen. She will throw whatever is in her hands and cling to my leg. She will not let go until I am back to my original position in the room where she was playing. I am now quite used to cooking, doing random work or roaming around the house with a crying toddler clinging to my leg. I must add that she hates my laptop and never misses an opportunity to stomp all over it. I love my daughter, but it gets too much to handle at times. There are days when I can get nothing done. I sit and play with her all day until it is time for her afternoon nap or for my husband to return. On the slightly better days, I am a little successful in engaging her in some toddler activities.
My Go-To List of Toddler Activities
Here is a list of things that work for us when everything else fails
Magnets on the refrigerator
A few colorful magnets are all it takes to keep her engaged for a few minutes. Although, magnets are toxic and care must be taken to ensure kids don’t swallow any.
Scribbling on the Blackboard
One of the best toddler activities ever! Gets me 10 minutes of ‘no baby clinging to me’ time. Once I made the mistake of letting her play with crayons. The walls have since been redone in colourful crayon art.
Pretend Playing with Harmless Stuff from my Dressing Table
Yes, she loves examining and pretend-playing with combs and scrunchies. I don’t mind as long as she is happy and busy.
Browsing through Story Books
She loves turning pages and tries to imitate me reading out the story. This one is risky because she soon realizes that she wants me read to her instead.
Munching on Snacks
If she gets busy munching, I get a little free time until she either finishes off the snacks and wants more or is bored.
Rearranging her Shoes and Socks
I allow her create a mess mostly because I don’t know what else I can do. She likes admiring her collection of shoes and socks and sorting them by colour
Stuff from the Kitchen Cabinets
Sometimes she pulls out a few plates, bowls and spoons and runs off to play with them! As always, I never stop her.
Although, she is bored with most of her toys and they don’t always work in keeping her engaged but then sometimes they do. Doesn’t hurt to give it a try.
Playing in the Balcony
She loves the balcony and can easily spend half an hour there as long as she can see me around. Our balcony is quite safe.
Rhymes on the Mobile or TV
Ok, I know it is not the best thing for toddlers, but sometimes it is the only thing that works for us. It does leave me feeling guilty for letting her stare into a screen. So I keep this as the last resort. I am in awe of parents who are able to manage with zero screen time! I am trying to gradually cut down on screen time too.
So, sometimes on the good days, these work but mostly they don’t. I look like a sad, homeless person by the time my husband returns from work. My daughter rushes to greet him while I rush to the washroom for a quick shower. I am hoping that it will get better with time. Weekends are better, because I have my husband around to help out with her. Soon my daughter will be off to school and I will probably have a little more time for myself. Right now, she needs me and wants to be near me all the time. My house is a constant mess but who cares. I am trying to enjoy all this extra attention she is showering on me as much as I can, even though it gets unbearable at times. Children grow up fast. Maybe one day I will miss walking around with a toddler clinging to my leg.
If you know any more toddler activities, ideas and tricks to keep your little one engaged, do share!