As much as I love Summer and swimming and playing at the splash pads around here (there are so many in DFW), I must admit, it’s the most difficult season parenting-wise. Don’t you agree? I’ll be glad when we can spend more of our time outdoors in the coming cooler months. Right now, I’m constantly searching for new outlets and experiences that will peak my child’s interest for more than just a few minutes.
My toddler has an unbelievable amount of overflowing energy that daily needs to be expended in major ways. Most of this is physical, but increasingly, I’m seeing that his mind is needing more and more and still more stimulation. This age is exhausting! I love it, but I often feel that I can’t keep him busy enough, despite my best efforts! Anybody else have a kid like this? Come on, I know I’m not the only one.
One major shift in our routine that’s been working wonders is letting him help me with as much as possible. Some of these things he’s been helping with for quite awhile, but other things I’m just starting to have him help me with. I’m talking things like putting away utensils from the dishwasher, all the plasticware, closing the dishwasher after it’s loaded and turning it on for me, working in the kitchen with me (the other day he helped cut zucchini with a butter knife ha!), sorting socks from the laundry as I fold and hang, “dusting” shelves with a Swiffer wipe, he LOVES to sweep with his little broom, and just helping with nearly everything I do in some way or another. This does create some extra work for me, but it’s worth involving him instead of excluding him from all the mundane, every day chores, which just creates whining, boredom and tantrums, eventually.
This is what our weeks/days currently consist of:
- at least 2 trips to the library during the week — he returns all of our books/materials in the slot all my himself
- we have about 3 reading times throughout the day — an early morning time after some rowdy playtime, before nap and before bed…when I schedule this time after some loud and rough play or tickles, it’s a quiet break that works for both of us, and he loves to “read” to me…it’s pretty cute
- assisting me with kitchen prep — there’s a lot of cooking that goes on in our household
- a dance party a day
- jumping at the trampoline park about once a week, or at least every couple weeks
- playdates with friends
- making snakes with Play-Doh a lot
- building Mega Blocks castles and whacking them down, over and over
- working on educational stuff a little every day (right now he’s learning some of the lesser known dinosaur names and working on learning the states on a U.S. map)
- running errands
- we let him have a show or movie time each day, a little in the morning and a little in the evening, but we limit this a lot
One special new thing we did last week was go to Sunshine Glaze to paint some ceramic pottery. He chose a race car “piggy” bank and we enjoyed making a mess and painting, BUT this was definitely more down time than he normally enjoys. He doesn’t seem to be too keen on art stuff, but I think the main deal with that is that it’s a lot of sitting! He loves to paint outside on his easel (standing), though, so I think this is all about the activity level, not that he doesn’t enjoy artistic fun. Check out Sunshine Glaze if you live in the area! I often see Groupons for this place, too, so keep your eye out for that.
Well, I’m off to entertain this almost-3-year-old. He’s about to bounce off the walls!