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I'm about to get made redundant and DH and I have decided that I will stay at home and look after our DS (3) whilst we TTC no2. When DS was born I took 12 months mat leave but have since worked full time with DS attending nursery. At weekends/holidays we pretty much do what DS wants and he gets constant undivided attention from one or both of us (call it working parent guilt or just wanting to spend every precious moment with him). He has never had to entertain himself/play by himself, we do lots of activities with him and he never even watches tv by himself, one of us is always there.
Now I realise that when I will be with him all day, every day, I won't be able to entertain him constantly as I will have to get all the household chores/shopping etc done, as well as look after DC2 when they (hopefully) come along. At the moment we have a lot of help (cleaner, gardener etc) and I do most shopping online or during my lunch break at work, but due to financial reasons when I stop working (outside home) I would have to pretty much look after the house myself with DH helping where he can but he works very long hours and often travels for work so most of the work would fall on me.
This may seem like a stupid question but what do other SAHMs do with their toddlers when you can't entertain them? How do you keep them occupied? Should my DS be able to entertain himself at 3? Any useful advice to a new SAHM?
I try and involve ds3 in all my jobs as although he will occupy himself for short periods he is used to having attention form either a grown up or ds1 or 2. He loves doing the dishwasher, washing up, washing machine, feeding the cats, dusting and hoovering, and changing the beds . It often takes twice as long and twice as much work but it is my only option. He will be going to Playgroup then pre school soon so will use that time to do paperwork sorting as he is no help with that! I find the fly lady website good for organising housework and often use the timer to keep everyone motivated and ensure I do spend some time playing.
The kid is 3.8. She spends two days at pre-school and the other five with either one of us (we only both work outside the home on pre-school days) and one day a week with both of us. Until she went to pre-school in September she had spend 3.2 years of having alternating days with one parent, and one 'family day' a week so we're both part-time SAHPs
She likes to play with us, but I've noticed that in the last two months she is a lot more independent - she likes to have some time everyday where she plays on her own. We just involve her in things though - we've sort of fallen in to gender roles in that my OH tends to do the 'big tidy/clean/hoover' with her once a week, and I tend to do the 'big shop' with her. This involves me making a list and her checking the cupboards, although now she likes to help write the list too. She then looks after the list in the supermarket and tells me what we need, although when she was younger she used to just put things in the trolley or 'look after' some things in the trolley seat.
So, I lost my thread a bit there. Yeah, even when there are 'jobs' to be done, we get her to help, and she enjoys doing so.
If we do need time without 'help' I'm afraid to say that videos on the digi-box recorder thing never fails. If I say I need to do something she will ask if I need 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 20 minutes. This will help her decide if she wants to see NumTums, Octonauts or anOctonauts special. We bought a tablet for family use a few months ago, but she isn't that fussed with the games on it if she's on her own because she often presses the wrong bit (exit, usually) and gets annoyed, but she will watch the above programs on it
She also likes Lego, and I can see a time in the not too distant future when she will happily play that on her own, although at the moment she prefers us to build things for her. She also likes books and puzzle books, especially if they have spot the difference type puzzles in.