Entertaining kids at home...so you can work.
The back story
So, I am both a stay at home mum and a small, work from home business owner. In order to run my business with any sort of success I need to devote my time and concentration. However...I have a toddler at home, who, as children do, has demanded the majority of my time since the day she was born.
I constantly marvel at how I can spend a day with my daughter, never sit down, and be totally exhausted at bedtime. Yet when my partner says the ever annoying phrase "So what have you done today" I feel like saying "Nothing, not a dam thing, yet our child is alive and well, so i guess i did that!".
At the moment
Daughter has nursery 2 days a week, and I manage to get orders filled on those days, plus weekends when Dad is about. The other 3 days a week are admin/social/computer days usually. Even then she needs to be occupied so I can concentrate. She needs to be having fun and focused, but of-course safe. Most importantly, she needs to not be saying "Mummy Mummy Mummy" every five sodding minutes. So that's the intro, fellow WAHM's I know you feel me. Here are my tips for keeping her entertained, though the the different age ranges.
The tips, starting with squishees
- 0-6m Lets be fair, during this period of her life she slept more than she was awake. Not to mention the things I could achieve one handed while breastfeeding shocked even me. But there was always the baby gym, and home-made sensory bits and bobs. Great ones I found to keep her attention were...
- Sensory bottles are so easy to do and keep little ones attention for a short span. You need empty plastic drinks bottles, water, coke, lucozade, whatever your poison. Wet or dry they are easy peasy. For dry, fill with some (uncooked) rice or pasta, or both, beads, sequins, buttons, whatever you have floating around. They rattle and they look like a kaleidoscope as they spin around. make sure you put a few blobs of glue around the cap before you screw it shut, so there is no chance of it coming open.
- For wet ones, these look super cool. Fill with water and then you can add glittler or sequins, food dye, those orbee bead things, and a few drops of oil and it will be like a galaxy in a bottle. Again, glue the lid down.
Let there be light
- Light boxes, this works in a bottle too, but I found a plastic jar, such as an empty hot choc tub works better. Fill with LED battery powered fairy lights. Its important they are LED and battery powered so they dont get hot. you can tape the battery pack to the inside of the lid. If your a baby lights in a jar is just magic. They look super pretty on a coffee table in a vase for mummies too!
- 6-12m At some point in this period most babies are sitting, crawling, standing and even walking, so with mobility comes more challenge. They want to be in everything. Nothing you come up with is more exciting than the keyboard your trying to type this on for example. All the previous sensory options are still great, but we need to up our game.
- First tip for the mobile baby is what I dubbed the "toy cage". I would encircle her with loads of toys, books, crayons and paper, instruments, teddies, sensory objects....whatever. When I say circle and "cage", she was in no way trapped. I would place the items in sections around the room, in a kind of large circle, so which ever way she turned there would be something to do. Always something different when she would stop and move on. It took a minute to set up but it always kept her busy for sometimes an hour for me.
The idiot box
- At some point I'm going to have to mention the TV. My daughter loves paw patrol, she will watch it for as long as I allow her to. This honestly scares me, when she is engrossed in the latest mission its hard to get her to make eye contact. For this reason I try to limit TV time to when I really need a moment...because sometimes I do!
- 12-24m Kids at this age can be at such dramatically different stages that its hard to lump them into one category. At one my daughter had several simple words, at two she could recite her favourite bedtime stories back to me before I even opened the book.
- If im being totally honest, its hard to keep her attention at this age, she needs stimulation but she would rather play with me than solo. Which is fine, but Ive found the things that keep her attention best are messy...really messy.
- A great one I have found for messy play that doesn't leave me hyperventilating about the clean up is dry pasta, rice, lentils or beans in large saucepans, complete with spoons to transfer one to the other its great fun. Older Boddlers (sort of half way between baby and toddler) can sort them out if they have enough pans. Flour and coco powder is also not too bad on hardwood or laminate floors, its a pain on carpet though.
Doing a bit of free enrichment and sensory play, nothing like a pan full of sesame seeds and a spoon to keep her happy, and they just too out and hoover up. I hate giving her anything where the clean up makes me cry at the prospect. This pic I took for one of my blog posts, this one on entertaining your kids so you can get some work done, or just have a minutes peace. https://millypops.co.uk/blogs/news/entertaining-kids-at-home-so-you-can-work #plymouthbaby #handmadebabyfashion #handmadebabygifts #babybumpin #babyhats #handmadebabyclothes #babyclothesforsale #handmade #handmadebaby #babybow #babybibs #pregnancyjourney #pregnantandperfect #pregnancyannouncement #mumslife #babyme #babyontheway #babyfever #babyclothes
Just a few ideas
Thats just a few ideas for keeping little's attention for more than five minutes. I cant expand beyond 2 because that's as far as I've gotten. Though I have another on the way and I'm told they will develop more patience as they age...I hope...anybody back me up there?