If you are currently parenting a toddler, and expecting the arrival of a little one soon this post is for you. If you are the exhausted parent of a toddler, wondering how you would ever have the energy for another little human on top of your already wild child, this post is for you! As a seasoned toddler mom, I can say with confidence that giving your toddler a sibling is 100% worth it! Hard work, absolutely! But seeing your children play together is something that makes my heart explode every day. (Yes of course they still fight and try to kill each other some days. 98% of the time, they love each other to pieces).
Preparing your toddler for the arrival for a new family member is another blog post (if not a book). I want to keep this one light hearted and give you some tangible suggestions to keep your little one busy. All while you are feeding the baby, or just plain putting your feet up!
While you are adjusting to life with multiples, one of the most important thing to avoid is a hangry toddler. Also, hangry mama, especially if you are nursing! I recently shared You can solve 99% of your toddlers problems with a snack and/or a hug and that brings me to my first point.
Not in the sense like build a grocery list, plan out 10+ vegetable servings per day, I’m talking snacks. Think of some easy foods that your toddler will enjoy, no fuss and easy clean up. Cut up fruit is always a hit here, or even whole apples are a great to keep a toddler busy while you read him a book. During breakfast, prepping up cut veggies and fruit only takes a few minutes when you are already in the kitchen. I like to keep yogurt drinks in the bottom of my fridge that my toddler has easy access to. That little bit of independence is great for him as well. I can’t tell you how many times I just sat down, got the baby latched on, only to hear “mom I’m hungry”!
Books were my saving grace while I was pregnant (so sick and so much pelvic pain). I bought this space saving bookshelf that held just enough books to make clean up easy. Also easy to rotate books every few days. This was in my living room, easy access for my toddler to pick out a book and bring it to mommy. I also kept a selection of board books that had flaps for interaction. “I spy” type books are another great option, always a hit here!
I know some of you may be cringing at this, but stay with me. I use stickers A LOT!! There are so many options, dollar stores have tons of selection, and you can use them for so many things. Not only great fine motor skill development, and allows for creativity (without the use of paint or glitter)! I love using individual stickers, in a big bowl and asking my toddler to create a story. Then, of course, reading me the story that he created.
- Colouring Books: These offer hours of entertainment here! There are so many great websites with printable graphics that you can use in a pinch. I really like this site for printing, tons of options! I also like to change up the colouring utensils. One week offering crayons, then pencil crayons, and when I’m feeling bold, letting my toddler colour with markers! Another way to encourage more colouring is suggesting that they colour a picture as a gift for a loved one!
Mid day bath:
If you are newly juggling multiples, one of the things you may be worried about is how to navigate bed time. I talk a lot about that on instagram, but am planning a blog post as well, so stay tuned! One of my best tips for easing bedtime struggles is adding in the mid day bath. This is a great opportunity for some relaxing sensory play for your toddler, while decreasing pressure your bedtime routine! I like to put a pillow against the wall in my bathroom, so I can sit on the floor. This allows me to nurse the baby while the toddler plays. Quite often they will play until the water is cold! This is also a great time to add in extra toys they don’t usually have in the tub. Don’t be surprised if your toddler spends nearly an hour playing in the water mid day!
Any blocks will do! I have a Melissa & Doug block set that my kids just love. We play games like “build a tower out of only blue blocks”. Sorting all of the blocks into colour coordinated piles is also popular here! A little bit of education and of course some more fine motor skills.
This has always been a favourite in my house. I love this Tea Set, because you can actually use water in it! I’m sure we could all use a little bit more hydration! It adds that much more fun for your toddler to actually have water in the tea pot! This is also a great time to have a snack together.
This one is similar to the tea party and can go hand in hand. Having some pretend food is always a huge hit with toddlers. It’s so much fun to play restaurant and have your toddler prep you a meal. It’s a great teaching opportunity to talk about what is healthy, and how to create a balanced meal.
Maybe it’s just my little ones, but it’s so popular here that I think it’s worth mentioning! I give my son a spray bottle (little dollar store ones) and a cloth, he will “wash” windows ALL DAY. Being a mother of three, I have lowered my standards significantly haha! He has one designated window that he “cleans every day”. It sounds like more work, but it really only takes me 2 minutes to clean it properly when he’s done. He has hours upon hours of entertainment, and he feels so proud to be helping mommy!
many of the activities I have suggested are nice “quiet” activities, if toddlers are ever quiet. Dance parties are a huge hit at my house! Download a Disney playlist and let your child burn off some of that energy! We all know how therapeutic music can be. Add a few couch cushions on the floor and make a dancing obstacle course for the kids to jump over or run around. You’ll be surprised how uplifting it is to see your toddler dance his heart out over his favourite Disney songs!
Juggling multiples is NOT easy! I am always in awe of daycare providers who are able to do so! Give yourself a break mama, if you feel like you just need a break, there is nothing wrong with screen time. My hope is that you found some inspiration here to keep your little one occupied through this exhausting transition to being a mother of multiples! I’ll add another list when springtime rolls around of outside activities that are a hit around here!