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Monday, October 6, 2008

Moms of Toddlers - HELP!

I am in a rut.

What the heck do you with a three year old and a one year old in the morning until about 12pm when you are zapped of energy because your prego and on top of it, not a morning person?

Seriously, I need help. I need advice. I need energy.

What do they do in daycare centers? I need to know! What is their schedule? I mean, a craft can only last so long, and the one year old eats his crafts!

Oh, and when the house is actually clean, I really don't know what to do. I'm bored. I'm tired (I think I mentioned that). Please please please somebody come to my rescue with a plan! I'm starting to feel a bit depressed.

Oh, and did I mention I don't have the car everyday. Yea, stuck in a small house with toddlers. HELP!

Thank you in advance. :)


Jacquelyn said...

Been there with a 1 year old and 3 year old and pregnant and tired. For me I realized that the longer I lay down the tireder (not a word, I know) I felt so we would take a short walk or go to a park. I would also give them a stack of books to look through, a few coloring pages to do or bring out the playdough toys. Good luck! at 13 weeks myself I'm almost in the same boat except my children are 2,4 and 6 and need less entertaining. You can do it!! Hope you feel better soon!

Laura said...

First of all, it looks to me like you are doing a wonderful job coming up with little things here and there for the kids to do. It's wonderful to let them play by themselves very often, so don't despair!

I think I'll rattle off a bunch of our "It's 8 a.m. and I'm tired out already!" day ideas on my blog tomorrow. I'll hope they give you some inspiration!

Cassandra @ Tripping Around The Sun said...

Being tired is probably my number one complaint. It is such an issue...can't imagine being pregnant to boot. While I have no solutions at this moment, you do have my concerns and sympathy. :)

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

How about reading to them - I know that doesn't last long. And put on some music and let them sing and dance (and the music might boost your spirits).

I'm praying for you!

Maureen said...

I am no expert, but you know those goofy toys you get at drive-through restaurants, birthday goodie bags, etc? I collect them. I put them away, and when I need a distraction, I pull them out for my 2 year old. It's new, and it's different, and he realizes it's not a set toy in the rotation. (I rotate all the toys by stashing some away each week and returning them a month later - I think he's on to this though.) Good Luck!

"Hello... It's Me Again..." said...

These are all great suggestions.

When my kids were little, we would read books, watch videos / dvd's, listen and dance to music, play with playdoh, color, play outside, plan flowers, walk to the park, or go to the library.

I'm hoping you feel better soon!

Katie said...

I don't know how you feel about the "electronic babysitter", but for me when I'm zapped of energy it's lifesaver. My 2y/o daughter watches a lot of Veggie Tales, Boz the Bear, and Sesame Street DVD's. She loves it and I feel great about the content. It's so precious when she starts singing "I thank God for this day..." (from Veggie Tales, Madame Blueberry). Hope that helps!

twingirlsmom said...

Hi there, I feel your pain!
As a former teacher, I would say schedule, schedule, schedule.

What you do is schedule activities in 20-30 minute increments...I understand the age differnce in your children but even your one year old is capable of that! I did this with my twins and trust me, with 2 babies, this helped me to majorly break up my day and not feel like it was going to d.r.a.g. on f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

So here are examples of what a sched. may look like:
FREE play,
One-on-one mommy time [one year old plays in playpen with 3 toys or so while you spend it with the other],
Then switch--mommy time with the baby while the older one plays independently
30 min. DVD,
outside play/walk,
FREE play,
naps/roomtime[anywhere from 1-3 hours].

For the afternoon after naps, I kind of modified it but definitely included FREE play, outside play, 30 min. DVD. All in 30 minute increments. Then, while cooking dinner I had them occupied at the kitchen table coloring, doing play-doh, something that they could do independently without directions.

Sometimes I gave them a bath BEFORE I started dinner as one of their fun 30 minute playtimes! It is a beautiful thing to have them bathed before dinner because I was exhausted by the time dinner was over and certainly didn't feel like doing a bath then. Also, Daddy is home and he can then have a little extra time with his kids to do a puzzle or game before bed.

I hope the schedule doesn't overwhelm you; it looks like work, but it's not. It will actually help your day go more smoothly and your kids will benefit from the routine.

Hope that helps!

Robin said...

Look at your children up close. Get on the floor and look around your house from their point of view. The days are long, but the years are short. I know the days seem the same and never ending, but this time will pass and it will never be there again. Make memories. You do not even have to do anything special to do that. My daughters remember food we ate while watching a movie or reading a book. Just because we were together and their senses were being engaged: yummy smells, soft material, warm towels, classical music playing, dress-up material of all sorts. Don't worry about entertaining them, just engage them. read, play, make them play without you, give them chores, memorize scripture, have them fold all the wash cloths, give them a water bottle and let them spray the appliances and wash them. Don't try to do it all, just breathe and do the next thing JOYFULLY. That's my new motto, by the way. It is hard to be joyful all the time, especially when you are tired, but just do the next thing and remind yourself to be joyful when you do it. Your children will rise up and call you blessed. They will be thankful for a mother who was there, real, tired and still full of joy.
Maybe the days are long because God knows the years are short.
Love, Robin

Dana said...

i currently have a 6, 5, 3, and 18 month old. it's almost hard to remember what is was like being pregnant with the third. but i do remember that if you are tired you need water water water. when your body is dehydrated, fatique will happen.
i would also highly reccommend "supermom vitamins" (a mom of 6 referred me to those). they are life savers!
i can also vouch for the schedule idea. i do remember that i accomplished more while pregnant with my third than i did with my fourth because i had a good simple schedule. schedule in those rest times for yourself! and keep it flexible.
Music is wonderful, kids can dance forever. if you can stand the noise give them some simple instruments to play along with (egg shakers, homemade drums, tamborines, penny whistles, etc...)
sometimes if you just sit on the floor, the kids will feel like you are engaging them. pour out a pile of duplos or blocks and just sit there next to them.
i can also remember bringing in one of those little-tykes slides inside, especially for rainy days. the kids loved it and they were able to get out some energy going up and down...
put out a pile of big and small pillows or large stuffed animals and let the kids play/wrestle/roll around-my kids love doing this even now.
build a blanket fort or just set up a kids tent-there's just something about a tent that makes it more fun to play with the same ol' toys inside (or have hubby set it up while they are sleeping to surprise them in the morning)
if you need to use a video, just make sure you snuggle with your kiddos, they won't feel like your just setting them in front of the tv, but you are enjoying the time with them (and getting to rest). Praise Baby videos and Cedarmont Kids videos are great too.
if you can, call a friend and ask them to just take your kids to the park for an hour one morning. people are willing to help if we just ask. :)

Heather said...

I only have 17 days left in this pregnancy and our boys are 2 & 4 and can play quietly together for awhile, but my exhaustion is in full swing right now. I recently pulled out all the Christmas movies. I know it's early but they haven't seen them in a year and we even made Christmas tree sugar cookies the other day!

Amanda Jo said...

Bless your heart!!!

Here are some of the things we do to keep our sanity when we have days like yours:
- Make homemade playdough then play with it. Plus, it's safe to eat, even though it's gross.

- Have you made a weekly schedule? If you'd like I can e-mail you a sample of our schedule and you can tweak it for your family. It really helps to make our days FLY!! I can also give you that playdough recipe.

- Have your kiddos help you cook lunch as well as prepare their snacks.

- Save some housework for them to do like dusting, windows, picking up, etc. My little guy loves to help!

- Take treasure walks...walk around the block (good for them, you and the baby) and let them pick up different things they find! Ethan loves to pick up random things he finds and he keeps them in a treasure jar! We have pinecones, pine needles, acorns, about 500lbs. of rocks, sticks...all kinds of things.

- We even make sure Ethan has a quiet time (aside from his nap) to sit with his children's Bible, color Bible pages or listen to Bible songs. We hope this will start his habit of quiet times now, when he's 5. Of course, this only lasts about 10-15 minutes but it's a great start.

- Vary your days: Monday could be movies. Tuesday could be Tent Day (build tents using sheets and your furniture). Wednesday could be Wiggle Days (put on some music and dance!)...etc.

I hope these ideas help! It sounds like you're doing a GREAT job!!!!! Keep up the good work!!!!

Anonymous said...

I do not have toddlers, I also can not think of anything I did when I had one toddler while pregnant. Anyhow for all I know you already read this blog...http://www.preschoolersandpeace.com/...if not it is a good one and Kendra might give you some great ideas.

Debbie J. said...

You sound just like my daughter who has a 1 year old! She says its the same old toys and books over and over... Sorry I'm not much help. Take a walk with the stroller each morning would be a good idea.

Suzanne said...

My kids and I went through a time when we went to town almost every day, whether it was to the post office, the library, the park, the grocery store, anywhere, just to get out of the house. I found this was actually less exhausting than sitting at home trying to keep them entertained all day. Also, I used to set mine up on a chair at the kitchen sink with a sink full of soapy water, an old fashioned egg beater, and a straw to blow bubbles with, and they would do that FOREVER. (Put a towel under them first). And remember, this too shall pass:)

The Happy Gardener said...

While I don't have any kids of my own, I do babysit toddlers and one of the ways that I keep them entertained is to let them play in a cardboard box "house." Cut out a few windows, let them decorate it with crayons and stickers...and they'll have a blast!

Hope this helps!