How old is your toddler? Because mine is 3-years-old and he is just a handful. I find the best way to keep him calm and happy is to keep him busy. But how can you keep a toddler busy all day when you are a stay-at-home mom? I have the perfect answers.
Let’s spend a day in the life of a toddler.
When you wake up in the morning with your little one, what’s the first thing you do? I often wake up before my son so I use this time to grab a cup of coffee and take a look at my emails from overnight. I check my Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, post a few pins on Pinterest and brainstorm about what I can write on my blog for that day.
Usually, by the time I’m finished with that, my toddler is wide awake and looking for his morning kiss and some attention. And, I love that. He calls for me, I get him up and to the bathroom to brush his teeth.
I love to brush my teeth along with my little one so he can mimic what he sees me do. And he loves being able to stand on his stool next to me and do the same. I think he feels a sense of pride being able to do what mommy does. It makes him feel like a big boy and gives him some independence.
Get breakfast going.
You know what they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I’m sure by now you already have a bunch of ideas of what to give your toddler for breakfast so I won’t get too much into it.
I love to give my toddler fruit, yogurt, and wheat toast with butter. (He loves honey wheat toast.) Sometimes I mix it up and give him a Mickey mouse waffle with sugar-free syrup and diced strawberries. These are his two favorite meals. He’s not one for cereal and milk or eggs.
After breakfast is when the real fun begins. This is the time of day I find that my toddler has the most energy. He’s well-rested, fed, and now he wants to throw the couch pillows and take every toy out of the toy box. So, what do I do to stop him from destroying the house?
Get him out of it.
Mid-morning is the perfect time to take your toddler to the park or for a nature walk. My son loves to explore and I encourage it so I take him to the big park down the street from our house and let him roam around. His favorite thing to find is sticks. While the other kids play on the slides and swings, he heads for the baseball field and looks for little things he can pick up.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not just letting my little guy walk off, I’m right beside him every step of the way, and he doesn’t look for things to put in his mouth, which I love, he just likes to pick them up and hand them to me, and if he finds a stick he likes, he walks around holding it. It’s actually a funny thing to watch.
I know going to the park might not be ideal for every day. We have some days here that get really rainy and windy in the spring and I like to use those days to go to an indoor park or on a play date.
Both of those options work to get them to release some of the excitement and energy for the day.
Head home for a snack and reset.
Once we get back home, this is a good time to do an activity where he can sit down and rest. And this is where my Google mini comes into play. I sit my son at his little table and give him his snack and when he’s done he can color with his triangle crayons.
Two tips I use for my son with coloring is #1, Triangle crayons because they can’t roll off the table, and #2 tape his coloring page to the table so it doesn’t move when he’s scribbling on it.
I use to watch as my son would try and try again to color and the paper wouldn’t stay still. Before we knew it, the paper was on the floor so one day I taped it down and I haven’t looked back since.
While he’s coloring I play some of his favorite music in the background. This is either music from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Music from SpongeBob Squarepants. And believe me, when I tell you, he knows all the words and sings along.
Get in some work-from-home time.
This is a good time for me to sit and get some work done because my desk is right next to my son’s table divided by a baby gate and I can see everything he’s doing and I also get a break to get work done.
When he feels like he’s had enough coloring, he will get up and start dancing and singing, and that’s fine with me. As long as he using up all that energy and not tearing apart the house.
Before you know it, it’s lunchtime and the day is passing along as you two keep busy. After lunch is the perfect time to let your little one watch some educational television.
My choice of show?
Sesame Street. I love that Sesame Street teaches letters and numbers as they play and I think it’s an excellent show for my son to learn while he watches. He loved Elmo so I’m not too bent on letting him have some television time.
And now, oh, sweet nap time.
I don’t know about you, but I love nap time. Not for myself of course, but because I get a couple of hours to not do baby things. I can watch a movie, work on my blog, or just relax and read a book, but before I do that, I have to lay down with my little man until he falls asleep. I’m okay with that. I love putting him to sleep. Just spending that time to unwind and watch him dose off to la la land is very calming for me.
My go-to list of activities.
I have put together a list of things you can do and you can use them to make a schedule for your toddler and keep them busy and avoiding too much television time.
- Go to an outdoor park
- Go on a nature walk
- Go to an indoor park
- Coloring time
- Watch educational shows
- Look through board books
- Go out in the back yard and explore
- Go to the kid’s readings at the library
- Go shopping to get out of the house
- Play with blocks and building toys
- Listen to music and dance
- Build a fort in the living room
- Play with bowls and water (my son loves this, although it does get a bit messy sometimes)
- Play with bubbles outside (you can either blow or get a bubble machine)
- Have a swim in the kiddie pool (if it’s nice weather)
- Take them on a playdate and meet with other kids and moms
- Use time to teach about cleaning and chores (we use the clean-up song)
So, aside from taking a nap, here are a lot of things you can do with your toddler to keep them busy. Before you know it your little one will be heading off to school so you want to try to spend as much time as you can with them before they are much older.
I think this list is an excellent way to get started on teaching your kids about managing time, having fun, and spending time with other kids instead of the television. My son loves playing with others and getting out of the house. He loves being outside and he loves water so this is the perfect time to encourage him to use his imagination and be explorative.
I hope this post was helpful in getting you some activities for your toddler. After all, by five years old, they are out of our hands and off to kindergarten. Cherish this time.
How do you feel about spending time with your little one? I think without it, it’s easy for the day to get wasted on television and nonsense. Do you think kids should have a daily routine? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment and share your experience with other moms.
Thanks for reading my latest post.
Are you looking for more parenting tips for your toddler?
Check out this post on The Importance of Reading to Toddlers