Everyone warns you… ” Just wait until they’re moving and walking! Then life REALLY changes!”
I used to scoff when people told me that. How silly, these people. Don’t they know the biggest change is when you become a new parent? Mobility will be a breeze after adjusting to having a new baby! I laughed to myself as I sat there with no parenting experience yet, what so ever.
Wrong… wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG.
Oh how I wish I could go back in time and give myself a good shake. They were right. Life is forever changed once your child becomes mobile and curious. They’re climbing on everything, independent play goes soaring out the window, they need to be moving at all times, and they find things you didn’t even know you had!
We live in a fairly spacious 2 bedroom apartment, but you run out of area’s to play in very quickly when you’re limited to one floor and 3.5 rooms.
Once I started noticing R’s naps tanking, I knew I was in trouble. The kid had endless amount of energy and bouncing in his Jolly Jumper and crawling around the apartment playing with his toys was not cutting it anymore. We had to get out and start doing more things to burn off this energy otherwise I was going to be in for days with no naps, and the thought of that made me want to pull my hair out. I was not ready for napless days yet. My sanity depended on these naps!
I’m pleased to say that it only took us about a week to get back on track and we have found a routine which works for both of us! I no longer stress about naps, everyone is happy (crazy what getting out of the house can do for your mood), and we get to try new things which makes every day new and exciting!
If you’re reading this preparing for this stage, or you’re in the thick of it now, may your coffee be strong, and your patience stronger. Solidarity, Mama.
Here are some things that you can do with your toddler to stay busy during the day.
Drop In Playtimes
This one comes first because it’s the one thing I make a point of doing almost every day. There are quite a few places which run free baby playgroups for children under one and it’s amazing. I know a ton of moms start going to these while their baby is not yet moving, purely for the social factor! Motherhood is lonely, especially in that first year, so getting out and talking to other moms (even if it’s just talking about how tired you are) can really help you feel connected to something other than your child.
We’re pretty lucky because both Bryn and I worked at a gymnastics center which run playgroups and drop ins so going in for them allows me to see friends and let R burn off all his energy.
Go Window Shopping
Sometimes it doesn’t even require taking R out of the stroller to burn off his energy. Just getting out of the house and being in a different environment is stimulating enough to tucker him right out. I like going to the mall every once in a while, grabbing an expensive coffee, and browsing through the shops. It makes me feel like I’m staying current with the trends and R gets to smile and talk to all the people we come across during our trip. Plus, you’d be surprised with how many calories you burn just walking up and down the mall halls for an hour!
Remember how exciting going to the museum was as a kid? It was probably for a school trip which meant you were getting out of class for the day and that meant it was basically the best day ever.
That feeling doesn’t go away when you become an adult! Going to the museum with your children is exciting because you’re getting out of the house for the day and it’s fun for both your children and you.
We recently went to a Butterfly exhibit at a museum in our city and it was incredible. Most museums have exhibits which they run throughout the year which is different then the rest of their museum and it’s great for keeping the same place new and exciting. They usually have monthly or yearly passes which can ease the cost a little bit, as well.
It is so simple. But oh man, does it ever work. Anything that allows me to get more than one task done at a time, I’m all for. I’m a busy person by nature so checking off tasks on my to do list helps me end my days feeling really satisfied. I was absolutely terrified to go grocery shopping by myself at first, but now that R is older and can sit in the cart for 45 mins without throwing a fit, I really enjoy it. There’s also so much going on in the shops that by the end of the trip you can tell he’s exhausted.
Go On A Day Date
This is by far, my favourite thing to do. It’s not something we do everyday, or every week even, but I try to do it at least once every two weeks.
After our morning activity we will then go out and get some lunch before the afternoon nap. My personal fave place is Ikea because when you buy a meal for yourself, you get a free jar of baby food, which is usually the perfect amount of food for R at this time of day. We also like coffee dates, and breakfast dates!
Go For A Walk
Now that we are finally seeing some sunnier weather, getting out for walks is so much more appealing. While I don’t particularly love dodging the 3 feet deep puddles from all the snow melt, I’ll take it over staying in the apartment all day! It’s another great activity that’s beneficial in so many more ways than one. Great to get some vitamin D, it’s exercising which releases endorphins and boosts your mood, and it’s a change of environment for both of you!
Getting out of the house doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. It can be as simple as switching up your environment! Getting out of the house will help keep everyone busy and end your days feeling accomplished and rewarded.
May your coffee be stronger than your toddlers attitude today. Good luck, Mama!
Talk soon xoxo