Just Trying to Make It to Nap Time: Ideas to Keep Your Busy Toddler Happy!
Updated: Jan 14
Written by Monique Larocque
It wasn’t that long ago when you brought baby home and you found your groove. If you are anything like me, there was a time where I thought I was crushing it at being a new mom. Baby was napping, mommy was showered, hair and makeup done, laundry done, house clean, healthy meals made; despite the complete lack of sleep. Then suddenly, naps dwindled, baby was on the move and the next thing I knew I had a toddler running around my house!
This is when I no longer had it all together!!
So many amazing milestones, but what I learned was in order to make my toddler happy and his day more seamless, I needed to keep him busy. Personally, I made sure at least three to four days a week we were out of the house after breakfast- and yes mama is sporting a messy mom bun, leggings and an oversized hoodie. Activities that I found great for development, bonding and using energy were swimming, music class, mother goose sing along, taking advantage of my community’s early years centres and programs at local libraries. This also gave me an opportunity to mingle and connect with other parents with toddlers!
On the days we stay home, I plan play activities, art or sensory activities that keep him engaged and stimulate his mind. He is very curious, so I make sure I give him time to explore and make sense of the world around him. He is also at the stage where he wants to do what I do. So, sometimes he hands me laundry as I fold it, or stirs his own pot while I’m cooking.
Another key thing we do is go for walks, go to the park, or a ride on his bike (push bike). Outdoor play is so important, and a great opportunity to introduce new language, sounds, and items to your child.
I personally have found that filling the morning with activity, takes you to lunch and usually welcomes a nap! Then you get some mama time… that’s if your toddler has a nap. The afternoon will then give you some time to get some things done around the house, i.e. dinner prep, tidy up etc. This also gives your child a chance to play independently while you complete some of these tasks.
Remember its not hard to keep them occupied, take advantage of recreation centres, early years centres, libraries and community programs. They can provide your child with many new and different learning opportunities. Enjoy these early years!
Some days can be challenging since having a toddler can mean, teething, tantrums, and meltdowns, but hang in there mama and acknowledge their feelings and help label and understand what is going on. You are their safe place where they can feel and be their true self. The best thing you can do is be present, support them, and love them. Soon they will gain more independence and won’t need to lean on you as much. Enjoy all these little moments.