keeping a toddler entertained

Sian - posted on 04/11/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )

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Hi, i have a son who is 2 in June and i find it so hard to keep him entertained all day. I am not working so have little money to take him out every day. we play with toys do drawing and read books but he gets bored so easily and gets up to mischief. please has anyone any ideas for me. Thanks

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Lisa - posted on 04/11/2009

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Hi Sian
If you break the day/morning up into a timetable for eg.
20-30 mins free play after breakfast
10 mins circle time with mammy (singing, free talk about any subject or rhymes)
30 mins messy play alone (sand and water)
10-20 mins jig-saw with mammy
30 mins in the garden if you have one with his choice of a bike, scooter or balls.
Nap time.
Try to have something set up on the floor for when he wakes like a scene made up of animals and people and trees etc.
This is effectively the routine I used as a pre school teacher in the past. It takes a little preparation in advance but will free you up in the long run.
Hope it's of some help to you, good luck
Lisa

Amanda - posted on 04/11/2009

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I would say, honestly, I use to really struggle with this - how on earth can you play with a kid all day and they are still bored!?  What I figured out is that they NEED to have time to themselves - a lot more time than most think, especially in our culture of 'have a new craft/activity/project/lesson everyday'.  In reality, what kids, and especially toddlers are learning most about at this young age is the way the world works.  They learn that through their interaction with you.  If you play with them all day and feel it necessary to entertain them the majority of the time, they will learn this is normal.  If they are expected to play and entertain themselves, that's what they learn is normal.  have patience and take 'play breaks' with them every hour or two.  Teach them how to play with their toys and then let them do it.  If they are getting into mischeif the answer may not be more play time with you (assuming that they are getting some - we're not talking about attention starving them of course, but it sounds like you are def giving them attention), the answer is discipline.  They have to learn what's not okay too.  If it's play time and they are breaking rules that you have established with them, time for some correction.  I hope that helps, although I'm not sure that's really what you were looking for.  I always keep in my head what a a very wise friend of mine once told me "You are not your child's cruise director."

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Misty - posted on 03/18/2011

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i find it hard to keep my son entertained too...we try to keep the tv off as much as possible! we go to our local library (they have a free toddler program) and we also attend MOPS (www.MOPS.org)...that breaks our week up a little bit...now that it's warmer we try to go outside at least 1x a day, if not 2x...we color, play blocks, play with pots and pans, pretty much whatever he picks out to do we do it! it is definately a challenge keeping them entertained...my fall back when i'm exhausted or need to do something is pull out a big basket of books for him to look at! he loves it!

Pam - posted on 03/17/2011

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a pair of rubber boots, warm coat and lots of outdoor time helps. Also, I discovered that breaking up the day as was suggested in another post helped immensely. The other thing my son loved, was going in the stroller to construction sites (new housing builds, or some type of Builder Bob scenario and he would watch for so long because it was very intriguing for a toddler. It didn't cost any money to play in puddles and go to the park but he really napped well.

Deepti - posted on 03/14/2011

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some music and dance time will help, also encourage him to help you in your daily house work like picking clothes or putting things or toys back in the place... this may help

Jennifer - posted on 04/15/2009

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I am a former early childhood teacher turned stay at home Mom (my son is nearly three). And although my friends laughed when I told them I had to actually buy a teacher planner and organize out our day. Routine is key to young kids, so the suggestions of creating one are great. I also used the planner to map out things I wanted to work on with my son, such as colors, shapes, numbers, etc. so I felt productive. It also keps us from getting into a rut and makes be be dilegent in rotating toys and observing developing skills. For instance I realized my son was not liking getting his hands messy, (a tactile skill) and therefor decided to do more playdough and finger painting during "art" time. You want to have a balance of structured play and free play. Base it on your child and family. For instance my son gets very cranky around 5:00 and it is frustrating to try to get him to follow directions. This is a good freeplay time for him and I can get dinner going. We also take advantage of free activities in our area, libraries have story times and other events, places like bookstores & pet stores do things too. And kid places tend to have free demos trying to drum up buisness, but you can go & not join!!! I would also add that rotating the toys you have would probably help too. Kids only need a few toys out at any given time. Put the rest in the closet and bring them out again in a couple of weeks, the kids play with them like they are new all over again! You might also look into finding a playgroup in your area. It is a great age to begin socializing and puts you in contact with other local Mom's with great ideas. Hope this helps!

Amy - posted on 04/14/2009

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I have a 2 y/o daughter who is very active. she gets bored easy and will get into mischief too. i re-evaluated the toys we were playing with. i realized that i was trying to push her towards toys that i preferred to play with instead of letting her choose. (you can only have so many tea parties before you want to scream) But i also realized that there were some toys that she had that were too juvenile and some that were too advanced. Both categories caused her to wonder off. so i just went through them one day when i found five minutes of quiet and sorted them. it seems to work better now. i also found that she preferred most days to do what i was doing. so she helps me clean around the house. sometimes i feel bad, like i'm running  little sweat shop but she seems to enjoy it. one other thing i did was to put away some toys for a while and then reintroduce them. this kept them fresh. i think that having too many options sometimes can overwhelm her and she just shuts down.

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Start teaching alphabet, counting, depending on how advanced your son is you can get some games they usually say for 3 and up but my two year old can play them pretty well. Color books, side walk chalk, sing songs, let him help you with the laundry and dishes ect. Good luck

Tarsha - posted on 04/14/2009

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hi, im a day care mum & look after 4 children every day in my own home ! i decided to do this as after i had my son i wanted to stay home with him. it is hard to keep them occupied all day everyday.. i do have a routine also,but it is a little different 4 me as i look after 4 kids not 1. but anyway...

kids love to get messy & dirty, painting, playdough, water play. i do this all outside with them! but they also like to have their own 'free play' where i basically let them do what they want. usually in the morning & late afternoon b4 mum comes to pick them up. i know it is hard & they seem to want your attention all the time.. but once they get the idea of things like playdough and making shapes out of it they will sit there & play on their own. (this will give u a little break, which you need to do sometimes !) things like stickers are also a good idea.. kids seem to love sticking stickers on cardboard or paper plates.. you can make a big caterpiller out of an egg carton and glue eyes on it & put a long string on it so they can pull it along the ground like a pet ! (i did this the other week & the kids loved it). kids love to cook also.. they think its great helping mum bake! there are so many ideas, when i decided to do this job i went out & bought a whole heap of kids craft books & cook books which i get my ideas from. i also have a quiet time after lunch where i put on a movie, the kids will either lay on a mattress & sleep or sit quietly & watch, kids need this to recharge & we need it to de-stress ! lol. well good luck with everything :)

Lauren - posted on 04/14/2009

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try doing one activity at a time. put most other toys away and make a daily list/ schedule..... Ext> 8 am breakfast, 8:45 circle time (reading, singing, flash cards), 9:45am blocks, cleanup, lunch......and so on.... i find that it keeps my son entertained for longer periods of time... and cleanup usually takes up some time....so he likes to help do that too, make sure you include free time for him to play alone so that both of you get a break!

Sian - posted on 04/14/2009

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Hey, these are some really great ideas thanks allot. I especially like the comment from lisa i will give that a go thanks very much. Any more ideas welcome.

Mandy - posted on 04/12/2009

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I have a busy boy as well. We did a lot of free activities out of the house when he was 2. Some things that we did were storytimes at the library, playgroup, free activities at the mall (they would bring in music groups and other performances for the kids to watch). You could also find a mom's group in your area.

Keli - posted on 04/11/2009

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Hi Sian! I posted a similar question on here as well! I have a 6 yr old in school and I stay home with my 2 & 3 yr old girls during the day. It seems like if I am not sitting with them and playing then they never play with their things! I'm sorry I have no advice but I will be checking your post to see if you get any good ones! Good luck!

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