Since everyone enjoyed What To Do With Baby All Day Long, I decided to write the sequel: What To Do With Your Toddler!
Because just when you think you’ve got this parenting thing figured out, your child gets older and everything changes.
Toddlers are interesting little creatures, and no two are quite the same.
If you’re a SAHM to a toddler or just looking for some inspiration for what to do with your cute little monster at night and on the weekends then this guideline is for you.
What To Do With Your Toddler All Day Long
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Establish A Routine
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again and again. Children THRIVE on structure.
Being so young, your child is constantly being introduced to new things.
While that is good, the familiar gives your child a sense of security that they need in their rapidly changing world.
Everyday can’t and shouldn’t be exactly the same, but establishing a general routine really helps the day with your toddler go by more smoothly.
A great place to start is keeping wake up time, meal times, nap time, bath time, and bedtime the same everyday.
In a lot of families hectic lives that is the best we can do, and that’s still good!
If you can, you might also find it helpful to add an outing at the same time everyday and allot a time for play together.
Heres an example:
7:00 Wake Up
8:00 Free Play
10:30 Outing (Playground, Library, Grocery Store, etc.)
3:00 Play Together (Toys, Books, Puzzle, Craft)
4:00 Free Play
7:00 Family Time
7:30 Bedtime Routine (pj’s, brush teeth, etc.)
Is this the schedule every family should follow?
You have to adapt it to fit your families needs. It can take some trial and error, but find what works best for your family and try your best to stick to the routine for a better day with your toddler.
Related Reading: How I Do More For My Toddler By Doing Less
Finding balance between all of our adult responsibilities is hard.
But it’s important.
My daughter would be over the moon if I spent 100 percent of my time playing with her, and ignored the laundry, dishes, cooking, etc.
Getting her to be content playing by herself for the longest time was a challenge. Some kids are like that, while others are perfectly happy playing by themselves for long stretches of time.
Establishing a routine for yourself, not just your toddler, can help you find balance between all of your responsibilities.
When you’ve allotted time for your toddler to play on their own, that’s your time to do what you need to do.
Plus if you have an established routine where your toddler knows after nap you’re going to play with them for an hour, they’re more likely to leave you alone knowing that that one on one time is coming.
Provide A Creative Learning Environment
Some toddlers find it very easy to play on their own. A few toys, books, and puzzles, and they’re good to go for a while.
Other toddlers could have every toy in the world at their disposal, play for five minutes and them come find you.
Creating a creative learning environment can help those clingier kids self entertain for a little while longer.
Here are a few tips on how to do just that:
Less is more
Too many toys in a play area can be a little overwhelming.
Try putting out four or five toys and you may find by putting a focus on just a few sparks your child’s interest and they’ll play longer.
Now, when your toddler goes down for nap, and/or bed at night, switch out those toy with a few of their other toys.
When they wake up they’ll be excited to play with the “new” toys they haven’t played with in a while.
Set up the toys
If you have the time, you can set up your child’s toys in a way that kickstarts their imagination.
Or stack a few books and lean another book on the stack to make a ramp and put out a few toy cars
Pick the right toys
This is a little easier said than done. I have definitely gotten a few toys for my daughter that have been big hits and other that have not.
It’s always disappointing spending money on something that doesn’t get used.
Picking the right toys for your child is a trial an error experience. I try my best to pay attention to what my daughter plays with and find a theme.
What I have noticed with her, and with other toddlers that I have cared for in the past, is that they enjoy toys that they have to use their imagination with a lot more than a chunk of plastic that lights up and screams songs and information at them.
Here are a few of the biggest hits I’ve seen with toddlers:
We got Alexa this kitchen for Christmas a year ago and it is by far her favorite toy. She plays with it everyday.
Someone just got her a shopping cart for her birthday and it’s been a big hit. Plus if something has gone missing in our house, we check the shopping cart first and it’s almost always there.
Related Reading: Surviving Winter With A Toddler
Get Out Of The House
Getting out of the house is important for your toddler, and you as well. Even if it is just outside in your yard to play.
Here is a list for inspiration:
Family or friends house
Here is a list of fun activities you can do with your toddler!
Make A Fort
With just a few couch cushions and some old sheets you can create a castle to explore with your toddler.
Putting your toddler in the stroller and going for a walk is a great calming activity for both of you.
Make A Craft
Crafts are great bonding activities for parent and child. Alexa and I just did a Thanksgiving craft/activity that was a lot of fun for both of us!
Toddlers may be messy but they can handle simple tasks like pouring, stirring, and cracking eggs with your help.
Read A Book
Reading helps promote your child’s speech development and instills a love of reading in them that will benefit them for life.
Getting your chores done while entertaining your child is a win, even if it takes twice as long to finish. Alexa loves when I ask her who’s clothes are who’s and she’s almost figured out how to fold them too!
Empty The Dishwasher
I’m not even allowed to do this one by myself without her getting mad at me. Just make sure to get all the knives out first!
Almost every time I put music on Alexa stops what’s she’s doing, yells “I’ve got to dance!”, then runs to her dresser to put a dress on, and then we dance. It is my favorite thing that she does right now 😂 I don’t think I have ever met a toddler that doesn’t like to dance, so try having a dance party with your toddler today.
Go To The Beach
There is so much fun to be had at the beach. Even if your little one isn’t crazy about the water, they’ll sit and make sand castles for hours.
We’ve gone once already this winter and Alexa LOVED it! Plus it’s great exercise for me!
Play With Balloons
They’re a great object to start with for playing catch or work together to keep the balloon from touching the ground.
Jump On The Bed
If this is allowed at your house of course, I’m not judging. I’m actually trying to ruin mine so my husband with get on board for buying a new one! Jump Alexa! Jump!
Have A Picnic
It doesn’t matter if you go to the park or just out in your front yard as long as you pack a lunch and a blanket.
Bubbles are so much fun! Alexa and I loved making them as big as we could with a giant bubble wand, then run up to the big bubble and blow on it to make a bunch of little bubbles inside of it!
That’s What You Do With A Toddler All Day Long
- Establish a routine for a smoother happier day with your toddler
- Balance your time between all of your responsibilities
- Provide a creative learning environment for your toddler to self entertain
- Try to get out of the house once a day for a change in scenery
- When in doubt, come back to this post to see activities to do with your toddler
What do you do with your toddler all day?
I want to know all of your tips and tricks for entertaining your toddler all day! Let us know in the comments below.
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