Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Fifth Birthday tickers


Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Second Birthday tickers

Friday, November 05, 2010

Request for Toddler Evening Activities

Okay, this is a solicitation for advice.

Nathan and I usually get home from work between 5:45 and 6:30. I feel like we have just enough time to eat dinner, play for a little while, bathe, and then start the hell of bedtime. This time crunch and fatigue have resulted in Nathan and I watching TV almost every night for the past month. Before the bedtime freak-outs began, we rarely had the TV on before Nathan went to bed. Now, it's a survival mechanism.

I figure that between making dinner and bath, we have about an hour of downtime every evening. I would love your suggestions of how to engage my busy, active toddler during this time. Also, be aware that I'm beyond tired right now. BEYOND. A couple of things, we need activities that don't wind him up. Bedtime is heinous enough.

Really, I just want to stop watching "Caillou."


Becca said...

What works best for us is to stick them in the bath right after dinner, then let them take a really long bath. It relaxes him and you can relax next to the tub while he plays. Then put on jammies, play some quiet games or talk about our day, and read until bedtime. We also do bedtime super early, like we start around 6:30 or 7:00 usually with lights out around 7:30 (they don't get a bath every night).

Also, have you tried moving bedtime earlier? My kids only get nuttier as the evening wears on and they get more tired. It took us a while to hit the sweet spot where they're tired enough to sleep but not too tired to behave like human beings.

AJU5's Mom said...

So, it is getting cold there and dark early, so going outside isn't an option.

How about crafts? Does he like those at all? With Christmas around the corner, you could make presents for people with his help (i.e. presents from him). We did wood ornaments last year that AJU5 painted. It was easy - no real work for me other than getting the material out. You could also get kits from a craft store like Hobby Lobby and do those...

Lani said...

My kids love, love painting ornaments too! You can buy super cheap plaster ornaments from a hobby store.

Also, play dough is a lot of fun (though messy!) but it keeps them entertained for a long time. I make my own since it's cheaper.

Honestly though, I don't remember the two-year-old phase. I could tell you all about four-year-olds!

Laurie said...

When my husband was deployed, Amelia was about your son's age. The evenings seemed to stretch forever. So I made a nightly bath a ritual right after dinner, and it was nice and warm with lots of toys. I washed her quickly first, then let her play for quite a while in the tub. Sometimes I would shut the curtain and let her use a squirt gun on the walls, or a spray water bottle, or finger paints. It was a nice quiet wind down activity. I have a small space heater that I turned on so the room was nice and warm. Then I would give her a few minutes warning the tub time was going to be over. I would have her give me the toys to put in the bath toy bin and we would play a simple counting game (counting them as she handed them to me). I would ask her if she wanted to be dried off in the tub or out of it; and then put her jammies on. Then ask her if she wanted to brush her teeth or if she wanted me to do it, etc. I gave her some control where I could and where it didn't matter to me. Then stories, soft music to signal bedtime and off to bed. She was usually out like a light.

When she was playing in the tub, I would clean the bathroom, or sit and read on the closed toilet, or bring in some laundry to fold.

Sarah said...

I do exactly what becca does.

also, TV, while it seems to be a passive, relaxing activity, can hype them up (there are studies about this, but I can't remember where), so we read a crap ton of books instead and have noticed that it's easier to get them to bed sans caillou (who is a whiny little jerkface).

My kids love food coloring in the tub, and they like to take a weird assortment of action figures and little people in there, too.