Keep Your Toddler Engaged After A New Addition
People want to know, what’s it like being a mum? Busy! How we do it still blows my mind. When you have another body glued to you almost constantly and hands full, the term multitasking takes on a whole new meaning! And then with another perky li’l toddler next to your side… well, your attention is stretched in all directions.
When finding ways to happily occupy toddler siblings, there are also a couple of main developmental concepts you can think about (plus a stack more), but these two help solve a lot when dealing with the minds of toddlers. Hard to miss this one but kids need positive attention from their parents and reassurance, as well as encouragement at any age to grow up independent. They’re also all about their senses and will love any type of messy and pretend play.
After nine months, babies start having separation anxiety from their mother which typically has slowed down almost completely by 2 years old. Ah yes, the terrible two’s! Of course, it must be said that every child is different and develops at a different rate, but around two they usually start realising themselves more as individuals and suddenly the world is a more confusing, frustrating place! Being told what’s right and wrong never used to happen so often, or “no Katie, you can’t show your belly to everyone”. Playing with other toddlers becomes more exciting and helps them learn for themselves what is fair and how to share.
Mothers are still the answer to all children’s questions and life matters and there’s nothing better than parents praise, so you’re most likely to still spend the majority of time with your toddlers. The easiest solution then to entertain your wee one is to let them help with looking after the new baby brother or sister rather than being told to go play over there. While some solo play is definitely also healthy to help kids become self-assured, helping mum out too isn’t such a bad idea plus they get the attention they crave!
While I’m not saying turn your kids into li’l minions, like having them walk behind you with a grocery bag hanging around their shoulders and trailing the floor (cute, but no), I do mean add some fun and a touch of ‘responsibility’ to their world and help them see how mum cares about both adoring cherubs equally. First teach them how to be careful around their new baba brother/sister, and then give them easy and fun tasks like putting on the baby socks, helping sprinkle the powder and opening up the baby’s pressies. Doing what mum does is naturally how they choose to play and learn.
Here are a few games for toddlers that help them feel involved and important:
#1. Read to baby.
Toddlers can’t read but we’re not going to tell them that! They can share their favourite picture books with their brother or sister. They like to feel big and that they know more plus it radically helps them develop their language.
#2. Show and tell.
Ask your older babe to find items around the house and then tell baby about them. You can ask them to find objects that are ‘blue’ or ‘soft’ to add to the fun and prompt them with questions like “tell baba where the dishcloth lives”. Again, this helps build your toddler’s language skills and mesmerise baba’s wide eyes, while you get a moment to yourself!
#3. Parallel play.
This is a common trick! Wee toddlers still can’t always grasp the idea that babies are delicate and may grasp their curious little ears and button nose instead with some added enthusiasm! To avoid any pain, lay the two with their heads together and let them play their own imaginary game while feeling close to each other. Toddlers are always observing and listening to everything going on around them, so simple experiences can amaze them. Watch the clouds or shine a torch on the ceiling with toddler friends too.
#4. Get messy together!
Oh no I hear you say, nothing that creates more for me to clean! You will need a messy mat and coverall to protect the children’s clothing as beware, this recipe does stain. Taste safe baby finger paints! Create a sensory art experience for your baby and toddler, using their touch, sight, taste and even smell. Sensory play develops so much in a baby and child - from social to cognitive and physical capabilities. You’ll be surprised how quickly toddlers and babies can play safely together. Now here’s the homemade recipe….
- 1 cup corn flour/corn starch
- 1 cup cold water
- 3 cups boiling water
- Liquid food colouring
- Add the cup of cold water and corn flour in a bowl and mix together.
- Using freshly boiled water add a cup at a time to the water/corn flour mix and stir.
- Add the mix to a saucepan and stir over heat until it becomes the consistency of custard.
- Pick your colours and add liquid food colouring.
- Store in a clean jar and these will last between 2 and 3 weeks.
- Only give it to the toddler once cooled to room temperature.
These activities for toddlers should help occupy their inquisitive minds and ease their jealousy that’s bound to come up! Chatting and engaging your kids in your daily life can be one of the best things for parents to do. So I hope this helps you explore new ways to keep everyone smiling and free up your hands mother hawk.