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What to do, what to do ...

Shannon - posted on 08/09/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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I'm totally struggling with finding ways to engage my 3 and 2 year old. I am realizing that I feel so overwhelmed to give them both attention at the same time, that I have really begun to just check out. My husband always seems to know what to do with them, but I have given up. I am trying to figure out how to re-engage, be myself with them, and have a good time. Please help!

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JuLeah - posted on 08/10/2010

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Are you getting enough sleep? (8+) hours a night.

Can you nap when they nap?

Drink a lot of water!!!

Watch what you eat .... no sugar, no trans fats, no corn syurp .....

Do you spend time with friends? What do you LOVE to do? Your job, volunteer work ..... can you take an adult ed class?

Do you move enough? Swim, walk, jog. lift weights.... very important chemcials are released when we work out - this is needed to fel good about ourselves

What do you know about child development? What do you know about how the brain grows and processes new information? Learning about what is happening with your kids while you sit with them and do puzzles, or while you read to them, color with them, build with blocks, build train sets ..... is exciting

Build a garden with them, go bird watching, build a pizza garden (plant everything you might put on a pizza. Plant it all in a circle shape like a pizza) when it is ready, pick it and put it on your pizza

Have them build bird houses

Sign them up for gym classes or story time at the library

Worry less about giving them both the same time and more about having fun .... if you think you might be depressed and a change of diet/excerise doesn't help, seek medical care

Good luck!!

Maretta - posted on 08/10/2010

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First of all .... negotiate with your husband or family for some time just for yourself. Even an hour twice a week is great. Dont do housework. Walk, dance, sing, sleep, wax.... whatever you need as an adult. Absolutely next : Note down a quick outline of your routine. Who says you have to play for more than 1/2 an hour or so twice a day? It is ok to use a play pen or grandma or gates on the play area for short bursts. Eveyone's happiness levels go up when mum has showered and eaten properly and she is happy with the state of the kitchen and laundry. Give yourself permission to put on some music (or not) and sit down with them on the floor with blocks, wooden spoons and bowls, cars, dolly. Set a timer and allow yourself to get back into adult time once you have had a play. I have 3 kids. Threading pasta onto men's shoe laces, playing cars and blocks.... wonderful. Big chalk drawings on the driveway is great. But everyone needs to know that chores and mum just caring for herself and the family is fun too. Balloons, streamers, baby clothes for teddy, dancing to music on your own sides of the toddler gate.... this age will quickly pass. Some parents are excellent with newborns, others with toddlers. Myself... well I really dont like any children of any age LOL. Dont be too hard on yourself and remember toy libraries, book libraries, grandma! Good luck.

Michele - posted on 08/10/2010

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I know exactly how you feel cos I have a 4yr old and a 19 monther. They are at such disparate ages that it is difficult to do things together. I take them to the park or beach alot, because then we can play in the water, make sand castles or ride bikes which they can do together, or if we are at home we do alot of gardening or messy stuff - play dough, mud pies, chalk drawing in the drive way - and I just try and let go. I don't think about the tons of work I have to do, or supper which needs to be sorted or anything but them. It is difficult though but my older son is already doing so much my himself that I really feel I'm going to miss out if I don't pull it together and just have fun with them. GOOD LUCK TO YOU

Kristi - posted on 08/09/2010

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Perhaps pretend to be the "leader" of a game rather than The Mother. Mothers are always busy being the authoritative protectors of their children, but a fun idea is to stop being "The Mother" and start being a Leader - if only for an hour a day, or a few hours per week!

Bang on pots and pans to teach them rhythm, they will mimic your behavior - this engages both children and Mom! Teaches, reinforces, and connects. Other games like that work just as well: tag, duck duck goose, even singing songs and being goofy with a stereo (turning it on and dancing wildly, then stopping abruptly and laughing about the dances). It's a good natural relaxing way to enjoy your children and let go a little bit! :)

User - posted on 08/09/2010

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My kids love doing things that are messy...we play in shaving cream (smells nice and is easy to rinse), finger paint, play playdough, simple crafts. They also love to help me around the house, wiping things down, cleaning the bathroom, cooking (though I only give them an empty pot with a spoon while I am doing the real thing) etc.

My husband is also a "rock star" in my kids eyes and I have just realized that his relationship isn't "better" it is just different. Be in the moment with them...clean out the mental chatter...tell your self some thing like "for the next 30 min I will not worry about the past or future" and just allow yourself to be fully engaged with them. It will get easier with practice! Good luck!

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Griselda - posted on 08/10/2010

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At this age children love to climb, jump, play, use their imagination. You can take them to the park and play with them in the playground. You can be the 'dragon' and chase them around. You can also go to a pond/lake or a body of water where there's ducks to feed. At home you can engage them by coloring with them, sculpting play-doh, scribbling on the cement with chack, sculping castles with sand if you have a sandbox. At this age kids love to dance and sing put some music that they enjoy and dance.
I highly suggest getting a yearly pass to the zoo and visiting one particular animal every month, read and discuss that animal at home with them. There's tons of other things you can do but I'm sure you get the idea now...
Before re-engaging your children. You need to unwind completely. Take a day off for yourself. Go out with a friend, have a cup of coffee/tea, lunch, day at the spa and then return with a clear head and most importantly with energy to hook your children to fun adventures once again.

Alison - posted on 08/10/2010

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I totally agree with getting some mom time. Also try to come up with a plan with hubby to have 1:1 time with each of your children once a week if possible. Your child will be happy for the attention and you will find be able to enjoy a moment bonding with your child.

Jane - posted on 08/10/2010

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Hi! I have seven kids, so I know what you mean. What do YOU like to do? I bet they'll like it too. When my kids were littler, we would walk to the library together, or find an interesting landmark (they especially loved the old trestle bridge where we used to live) and walk to it and back. The library, they adored, and they'd get to pick a movie and bring it home.

At two and three, they are more playing next to than with each other. You can encourage them to enjoy each other's company by planning things that take both their efforts, and things that they can do separately.

We read a lot. Painted. Played messy games outside. Had splash contests in the tub. You don't have to be Disneyland all day, either. Dad wants to be, because he feels left out of the day. Try to see if he will tone it down a bit, because he's a tough act to follow. It's not the same as when you're facing laundry, dishes, and all the housework and trying to find time to play as well. Maybe if he'd cook supper or clean up after, you would relax into play a little better. :)

Cynthia - posted on 08/09/2010

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First of all, do you have someone (maybe a grandparent or family friend) that could take them for an hour or 2 to give you a little break so you dont feel so overwhelmed? Maybe you could try things that you could all do together- read a story book, cuddle up on the couch and watch a cartoon, pull the kitchen chairs in a square and cover it with a blanket to make a play tent, make a batch of cookies- even if it's just the premade ones that you put on a tray! My own children are only ages 3 yrs and 4 wks, but these are things I did with the 2 children I used to babysit. If you feel too overwhelmed trying to do things with both of them, you could even try doing things one on one- have dad or someone keep one of them and go on a momm-son/daughter date. Maybe a trip to the library, a trip to McDonald's or the ice-cream store. Also, in some communities they have groups called "Parents as Teachers" (the lady at our WIC office told me about it) where they send a person to your home once a week for a few hours (something that fits with your schedule) - they bring a small craft, and maybe an activity or a story and they do these things with you AND your children .That way it's something fun that you can do with both of your children, but there will be someone else there to help so you dont feel overwhelmed! Anyway, I dont know if this helps you any or not, but I wish you the best of luck! Just try to have fun! They grow up so fast!

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