Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Occupying a Toddler

This is Bug, roaming.
There are countless blog posts on the interwebs about keeping younger kids out'cher biz-nass while trying to learn an older young'n*, so this isn't exactly ground-breaking information. In our case, the toddler is of the very young variety, so there are certain suggestions that just won't work yet because he puts all of the activities in his mouth. So anyway, here are some things that have worked for us so far, and some things I'm thinking of trying out.

Letting him roam

Frankly, as eye-rollingly simplistic as this is, it's generally the most effective. We don't have a designated learning space in our tiny house, so anything that requires writing or art is done at the kitchen table, books are read on the living room couch, and math is done on the computer in the family room. So our most effective Bug repellent is to just let him run around and play in the living room and kitchen, a storage bench full of toys at his fingertips.


That's our dog. Now Ella is a ninety pound Lab/Dob mix, so we don't actually put our 30 lbs > son down to play with her directly. She's not intentionally aggressive with us; she's just huge and young, so she's playful and could very easily accidentally hurt him. What he LOVES to do, though, is to sit by the back door and watch her in the back yard. Sometimes she'll come up to the window and they'll check each other out. She also has a crate in the living room, the big, open wire kind where she can see everything. She usually sleeps with the door open these days, but if we shut it then Ella and Bug like to check each other out. Until he starts trying to share his toys with her, of course.

That Thin Mint never knew what hit it...

I try not to plow Bug with food just to keep him quiet too often, but if Bear and I are working on something and we need to make sure he's not under foot (or if he is doing the thing where he grabs library books out of my hands and tries to put his own, personal stamp on them), there is nothing that keeps him happier than his booster seat and a few Ritz crackers.

Letting him destroy

This is not my favorite, because it's a short-term solution which creates work for me that I may or may not get to later in the day. But sometimes the best way to keep my Bug happy so I can help Bear multiply 2-digit numbers is to let him get into that drawer or play with that item which is normally forbidden. I don't mean I'm letting him drag out the cleaning supplies and chaw down on the dishwasher tables, of course. But I'll probably let him drag out all the plastic food storage containers and throw them all over the kitchen, even though it means Imma hafta wash them. Again. 

Now that my Bug is a bit older I want to make him a few sensory bins. He's still putting things in his mouth pretty regularly, so I'll probably do a few "edible" bins. Dry oatmeal, Cheerios, things like that with some containers and whatnot. The textures are nice and if he sticks them in his mouth, no biggie. 

We also got him his first paints and brushes and stuff for Christmas (all toddler-size), so in a few months he'll be able to join in with us more. He loves his homemade fingerpaints and I think he'll really like painting with mom and sis.

When all else fails, we just take a break. There are some days when life is too hectic or Bug is too needy and all the things will just have to wait. Or we'll just shove cookies down his gullet. And if things get really desperate? The cage!

Baby is not actually inside cage. Do not call DCFS. Not for this, anyway. Maybe the cookie thing.

 I'd like my Mother of the Year award now.

*Mixing up my speech patterns in the same sentence. Ohhhhhhh, yeah...

1 comment:

  1. Despite all his rage, he is still just a baby in a cage.