Monday, February 8, 2016

Toddler Help

I mentioned my struggles with Marian in this other post, but, really, I need some suggestions.

What in the world do you do with a toddler all day? I am not even talking about during homeschool necessarily. I mean what do you do with a child who needs to be watched and entertained when you have other things that must be done.

I swear, it's like I've never had children. In a lot of ways, that is true. I left for work when Grace was 14 months old and she could barely walk.  I was only home on evenings, weekends, and maternity leaves until Marian was 27 months old. In spite of having four children, I do not have long experience dealing with toddler crazy.

The truth is I am absolutely terrible at figuring out what to do on the fly. A real and repeated example of my in-the-moment forgetfulness is when the children are still babies, but are transitioning into bigger babies who to do not need to be held all the time, I have run around the house trying to do chores one-handed while carrying baby on the other hip--in the pre-Boba days--getting frustrated, and I have to be reminded I can put the baby down. Oh yeah, this baby plays on the floor now. Does not need constant carry. I forgot. **

When Marian starts the attention seeking behavior when I am busy, I am usually paralyzed in responding and end of spinning my wheels instead of accomplishing anything, either with her or my work.

I need a concrete, real list of ideas that I can reference and think about and that can be implemented with an energetic toddler in a house where rooms cannot be blocked, nowhere is really toddler proof, and we all basically spend all our time on top of each other in the small, stupidly-designed living room/kitchen. Help!

**So I probably should have another baby to remedy the fact that I discovered the life-changing magic of properly-constructed, structured carriers when my fourth and youngest child was 13 months old. It would be tragic not to be able to use my Boba with a baby and actually make my life easier.


bill bannon said...

I have no ideas but I'll pray tonight for your progress with my brother via facetime which we do thrice a day.
St. Monica, pray for her.

entropy said...

Devote some ene4gy into making wherever you are most, doing school or not, mostly toddler proof. Pushing couches around to block etc. You won't probably be able to leave her there alone or she'll climb out but she can get used to the idea that we stay here for this amount of time. Have your older kids take turns watching her while you finish lunch. Put the tv on when no one can be patient anymore.
My toddler loves to pour things from one glass to another. If it is a nice day, you could let her do it outside while everyone worked or was read to.
Make her a fort under the table.

You will get there. Toddlers arent easy but they're cute!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry about babyproofing except for obvious dangers. If you can provide her with a change of engaging activities, the babyproofing will take care of itself.

What I find hardest to remember is that toddlers may need an activity change every 15 minutes unless they are engrossed, in which case, I wouldn't interrupt. Try to switch between table work and physical activity. This becomes second nature and fluid once you are used to it and notice signs of when the interest in waning BEFORE the attention seeking begins.

Sample ideas for a 2 hour morning block might be one from each category, alternating different activities on different days:

Music -(floor) good morning songs, dance/music video, basket of toy instruments/shakers
(child puts away materials before next activity)

Puzzles -(table) simple knobbed puzzles, peg board, shape sorting toy, pattern beads on string, lacing, Geoboards

Imaginative/Social - (floor) doll care basket, play kitchen, grocery cart, post office, dress up, etc.

Snack- (table) cutting banana, cutting cheese stick into cubes, transferring raisins from box to tiny cup, pouring water into cup from small pitcher, wiping table down.

Sensory - (floor) water/sand table on porch, watering plants with toy watering can, hopping ball/Rody, sweeping with small broom & dustpan, ride toy on deck, Playdoh, shaving cream in plastic tub, etc.

Art (table) - coloring crayons, paints, glue small catalog/magazine cutouts on paper, stickers on paper, stamping with bingo markers, etc.

Games (floor) - blocks, bean bag/ball toss, stacking cups, blowing/popping bubbles, hopscotch, Elefun, etc.

Fine motor (table) - cutting a strip of paper with scissors, using tongs to move pom poms from one bowl to another, sorting a bowl of three color dried beans into three little cups, stringing beads on a pipe cleaner, clipping clothespins from one thing to another, spraying the glass door with a small spray bottle, etc.

This would get you through two structured hours. An older sibling could help facilitate until she gets the hang of it, and switching the kids out every 15 minutes keeps one child from bearing the burden. The real burden is thinking through and having materials handy for switching one activity for another, but it really helps give a child appropriate activities vs. "getting into stuff"


Elizabeth said...

I found this list, and while I'm sure not all of it will be helpful, it seemed to have a lot of good ideas. I'll be entering the toddler years with my youngest very soon, so it was a good way for me to get some ideas for the future as well.