Toddlers cannot settle to anything for very long, and a bored toddler is a troublesome toddler. With a few simple items around the house, you can entertain your toddler for hours.
There are activities for days you are too busy to join in, messy activities, and fun activities for you to enjoy together. Be creative and have fun.
Cooking With Mom
This one is a firm favorite with the toddlers, but can be messy and frustrating for Mom. Remember to keep all sharp utensils out of reach, and preferably make no cook recipes, or recipes that require a minimum amount of cooking. Never make recipes that require boiling sugar, if you have a toddler involved.
Another messy favorite. There are plenty of recipes for home made play dough, both cooked and uncooked. For minimum fuss and mess make a colorless uncooked variety, using edible ingredients.
Painting and Coloring
Again these can be messy. For the times you are busy use coloring. Keep painting for days when you have time to join in, and time to clean up afterwards. Most children prefer to free color or paint, but some like something to color in.
Use brightly colored socks of varying sizes. Try not to use similar socks, initially. As your toddler gets better at this you can put similar pairs in to make it trickier. For added fun, string some yarn between door-handles and get out the pegs. Your toddler can then peg the socks, in pairs, to the line. This is a great activity to keep him busy while you clean.
Regardless of gender, toddlers just love this one. Supply big baggy clothes that they can easily get on and off. Make sure the area they are playing in is free from hazards, if they trip. High heels and long skirts don’t make for a steady gait! A safety mirror adds to the fun, as they love to admire their outfits.
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If you have to give the bathroom a thorough clean, this is a great activity. Pop the toddler in the tub with some toys, and clean around them. Save the floor until after he is out and dressed, or you will just need to do it again.
Cut and Paste
Using child safety scissors and old magazines, this one can provide hours of fun. It also provides hours of cleaning up, it is amazing just how many pieces you can cut a page into, so beware!
This one is great for days when you have time to play, but no energy to clean afterwards. You can take pictures from magazines but finding pairs can be tricky. Once your toddler can match straight forward pairs, why not try associated pairs. Ideas include toothbrush and toothpaste, crayon and paper, etc. You can also use theme pictures.
A bowlful of pasta penne and a piece of string are all that are required for this activity. For variety you can paint the pasta.
Once your children become teenagers you will look back with fond memories of these days. Toddlers love to clean. Give him a cloth and let him dust away. A brush on the kitchen floor is good, and a damp cloth on the bathroom floor is pure heaven to your budding cleaner. Please remember that cleaning products are poisonous.
Less Stress Tips For The Holidays
Raising boys is stressful enough but add the stresses of the holiday season and you have the makings of a nervous breakdown. They make a Christmas list and all they have on it is high priced items.
3 RC cars or trucks
Bey Blade RC set
3 Game Boy games
Radio with CD player
Don’t forget stocking stuffers
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That’s just one child. I have 3. What’s a parent on a budget to do?
Then there’s decorating the tree and the house. The kids want to help. While the older 2 are putting the ornaments on the tree there’s the little one spreading the garland, and other fun things, all around the house.
You have to bake cookies too. They, of course, want to help. They help best by picking at the dough while you’re trying to mix it and roll it out. They they want to cut out the shapes and you have a whole bunch of crooked and bunched up shapes. There’s more sprinkles on the table and floor than on the cookies.
When do you do your Christmas shopping? While they’re at school? You can’t do this if you work during the day so when will you get it done? After the shopping is done you have to figure out how to get the gifts wrapped.
Maybe after they go to sleep at night, but you’re too tired. Where are you going to keep the gifts before you wrap them? After? I don’t know about you but there’s no place in my house my kids can’t get to.
The kids are home from school for almost 2 weeks during this season. Now you have to find things for them to do so they don’t get bored because when boys get bored they find their own things to do and that’s not always a good thing. If you work then you need to find child care for them. Good luck!
You probably have family get togethers during this season too. Your family, your spouses family, extended family, friends parties. Then there’s school performances and maybe even church events. Along with get togethers comes cooking.
With all this going on how do you find time for yourself?
Tips To Help Minimize Holiday Stress
Start Your Shopping Early
Layaway is a wonderful thing. You can get your gifts in September and pay for them a little each week. You also don’t need to have a hiding place for the gifts until mid-December when the layaway time is over.
If you don’t like using layaway you can buy a couple gifts each week and store them somewhere instead. Some people like to start their holiday shopping in January so they have all year to do it. This isn’t possible if you have kids that change their minds a lot. My kids don’t finalize their Christmas lists until December.
Create a Holiday Calendar
If you keep track of all your appointments, get together, dinners and everything else on a calendar you will be able to see everything all at once. This way you will be able to prepare in advance and you won’t forget everything.
Enjoy Get Togethers and Events
When you sit down with your friends and family at get togethers and other events you need to forget all the other things you need to be doing. Relax and enjoy yourself. You can’t do anything else while you’re with your friends and you need to have some “me” time. Take these times and make the best of them.
Rest and Eat
You need your energy so make sure you get plenty of rest and enough to eat. If you don’t, you’re body will let you know. Then you won’t get anything done.
Let the Kids Help Decorate
You need to be in charge so things don’t get out of hand but they need to feel that they are part of the season too. You can hand them things and they can put them somewhere.
Some things you will need to tell them where but if you are just letting them decorate the tree let them put the ornaments anywhere they want. Don’t clean up until they are done, it takes away from the fun.
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Make Casserols Or Semi Prepared Foods
Some foods can be prepared ahead of time and frozen. Then when you need them you can take them out of the freezer and reheat them.
Or you can prepare foods a day or two before an event and then cook them the day of the event. This will save you a lot of time when you are in a rush to get to a party right after you have finished shopping.
Have the Kids Make Crafts –
You need to keep them busy anyway while they’re home from school. Find some easy Christmas crafts for them to do. You can find lots of them online. Put them on the kitchen floor with all the things they need and let them go to work while you do other things. When they are done you can just sweep up the mess.
Make a To Do List –
It’s hard to keep everything you have to do straight when you have so much to do. Make lists. Not only will this help you remember things but it will also take things off your mind. Then when you check things off you will feel a great sense of accomplishment.
Shop Online –
Sometimes you just can’t find what you’re looking for at the store. Or maybe you don’t have the time to do a lot of shopping. Shop on the Internet. You may have to pay for shipping but you may not have to pay a sales tax and you will save yourself a lot of time and frustration.
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Let Them Bake Cookies –
Make them a batch of cookie dough to make their own cookies with while your regular holiday cookies. They can pick at the dough all they want because it’s their dough. It doesn’t matter if the cookies are messed up either as long as they like them.
Don’t Buy Them Everything –
They want everything and you want to get them everything they want but you need to stick to your budget and they need to learn that they can’t have everything they want in life.
Get a Babysitter to Shop –
If you can’t find a good time to go shopping then get a sitter. Some stores are open really late at night during the holiday season. The Toys R Us around here is open all night on Christmas Eve. Get a babysitter to come over after your kids have gone to sleep and do your shopping. They’ll never even know you were gone.
Use Friends and Relitives –
You can have them watch the kids while you wrap presents. You can also ask them to store presents at their house, especially if they don’t have kids of their own. I store things at my mother-in-laws house. I wrap presents after the kids go to bed and keep my bedroom door locked.