Amusing v. grumpy 19 month old inside - need ideas for tomorrow!

(11 Posts)
Itstoocoldoutside Wed 12-Dec-12 22:27:17

Nothing seems to keep my 19 month old DS happy for more than 5 mins at a time. We normally go out to the park a lot but it's too cold at the moment and all the playgroups/classes we go to are closing down for Christmas. With all the activities I can think of, even the ones he enjoys, he gets frustrated so easily if he can't get things exactly as he wants them (eg. if car doesn't do exactly what he wants it to do) and starts yelling. Or he tries to eg. draw on the walls, I say no and eventually confiscate the pencils and he then screams and nothing will distract him. And he whines all the bloody time - whatever we are doing he wants to do something else.

So today we had nothing planned and it was hell. Among the activities I tried were:
- pretend cooking (stirring flour and water and pouring into another jug) (about 15 minutes but he kept getting annoyed with it)
- jumping off a chair onto a big pile of cushions/duvets (this was the best activity we got about 15-20 mins)
- drawing (about 2 mins before he started trying to draw on walls/floor and wouldn't draw on paper)
- cars (about 5 minutes before he got frustrated)
- playmobil (didn't want to play with it at all)
- reading (off and on throughout the day, he does quite enjoy this when in the mood

What do you do to keep your toddlers amused? I just get so bloody annoyed when I try everything and nothing keeps him happy. I ended up taking him to the library but even there he just wants to run around opening and closing doors and creating havoc so we can't stay there too long.

Please help me avoid a breakdown tomorrow!

youmaycallmeSSP Wed 12-Dec-12 22:37:00

Just keep going. It is exhausting, embarrassing and infuriating but it's totally normal and it will pass.

I know it's freezing but you really do need to get small children outside or they go even more crazy. Get one of these, some wellies, mittens and a snugly hat for him, warm, waterproof clothing for you and head to the park.

Tomorrow, how about soft play?

Itstoocoldoutside Wed 12-Dec-12 23:00:15

Thanks ssp! It's good to know that it's normal. The other toddlers I know of his age (not that many admittedly!), just seem to enjoy doing stuff more eg ds's cousin will happily trot around playing with cars for ages. I always feel ds is the most whiney child I know which isn't fair on him as he's not doing it on purpose. The whine just goes right through me!

I think we will try and go out tomorrow, I like the look of those suits. Ds won't wear hat or gloves so his hands get so cold I feel bad if we stay out very long.

Just wondering when do you think it will get better? 2, 2.5?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 12-Dec-12 23:06:50

Extending the cushion theme - build him a den. My 20 month old loves it when we do this, and will happily potter about taking things into it and bringing them out again.

I feel your pain, DS2 is hard work like this. DS1 was a dream in comparison. Even at this young age he would play with his Duplo or cars for about an hour while I got things done!

youmaycallmeSSP Wed 12-Dec-12 23:10:19

It will get better as his language, problem-solving and motor skills develop so he gets less frustrated, so it just depends on him as an individual. One day though you will put him to bed and be hit with the realisation that your little boy now vaguely resembles a reasonable person grin

It's hard when other children seem to be calm, quiet, chilled toddlers but real ones like that are few and far between. My friend is convinced that my nearly-3yo is so relaxed he's horizontal. I know far, far otherwise! You're with him all the time so you pick up on wildness very quickly. Other people just see normal toddler behaviour.

Will he keep a hood up if he won't do a hat? DS wouldn't wear mittens last year and he was fine. If he's running around he'll stay warm anyway.

QTPie Thu 13-Dec-12 04:24:03

Goodness no - more active toddlers are like this: my DS was and still is (not whingey, but does get cabin fever):
- agree with wrapping up warm and getting out anyway (park, around the shops, just a walk).
- swimming?
- do you have any softplay near you? Our gym classes close over Christmas, but the (local independent) gym runs drop-in softplay sessions throughout the Xmas period. Other specialist "softplay" places.
- DS likes it if I build a "tent" (I hook the duvet over his open sided cotbed, but you could do it in other places).
- Playdoh? Or salt doh. Going into ELC or similar, they have cutter/roller sets.
- does he like any TV programmes? Mr Tumble? Buy the magazine. Not hugely age appropriate, but he might recognise things and enjoy sticking (they come with stickers).

I really do aim to get out if the house and do something physical once a day even in Winter (twice on the Summer): only way to keep us all sane...

Itstoocoldoutside Thu 13-Dec-12 08:56:39

Thanks everyone - it's good to know I'm not alone Alibaba. Today hasn't been great so far - tried the cushion game (about 10 minutes) and painting (didn't want to do it at all - what kid doesn't like painting sigh!). Mr Tumble was a success though, thanks QTPie, we've never watched it before - I will go out and get the magazine later. I've put him down for a quick nap now as he woke up really early today and seemed tired, which probably doesn't help with the grumpiness!

There is one soft play near us but it's not that great as the children can just run out into the cafe area so all my DS wanted to do was run around and play with all the chairs/doors in the cafe!

BeaWheesht Thu 13-Dec-12 09:00:11

I've had two kids like this. Dd is 2y2m now and much better.

What about cheap wrapping paper and sellotape and let him wrap toys etc up?

rrreow Thu 13-Dec-12 13:03:02

If he likes drawing, how about getting Aquadoodle? All the drawing fun and no worry about damaging the walls.

It sounds like he's really frustrated by not being able to do stuff that he wants to do (or has seen you do). How about when he gets frustrated, pretend that you can't do it either, basically ham it up so you're sooo incompetent that it makes him laugh. That might help with his frustration.

Not sure about other kids but my DS doesn't seem to mind the cold. Just make sure he's wrapped up really warm and still go out. If you think he's getting cold just chase him so he keeps warm. Reason I don't like going out at the moment is that I get cold grin DS doesn't care.

Also might his grumpiness be to do with low blood sugar? Healthy snacks when he seems overly grumpy could be worth a try.

Try and pick activities where you can avoid saying no or reprimanding him. Or if he's really doing stuff that's not allowed try saying 'walls are not for writing on' or something like that or 'cars are for driving, not for throwing', to avoid keep using the word 'no' for non-essential situations so it keeps its power when it's really important (e.g. dangerous situations).

Not an expert (your DS sounds more challenging than mine, I know I'm lucky!) but hope some of these help.

Itstoocoldoutside Thu 13-Dec-12 14:45:00

Thanks Bea and rrreow.

Bea - tried the wrapping idea and he enjoyed it, didn't like sellotape but enjoyed putting his pretend food on the paper!

rrreow - Aquadoodle is a great idea. Funnily enough I have just ordered one to get him for Christmas, hope he likes it! Good idea re. not saying 'no' as much, I will try that.

MrsDandBaby Sat 15-Dec-12 13:04:00

Lots of great ideas here - i have a very similar 19month old who thankfully has an older sister who is happy to entertain him. Couple more thoughts to add...

My son would happily spend hours splashing and pouring things in the bath, interspersed with me blowing bubbles. Also means i can potter around upstairs doing odd little jobs whilst he is contained (we have a very small house, very easy for me to see and hear him while i'm flitting back and forth)

One other thought is balloons - much safer in the house than balls and might help run off a bit of energy by chasing after then, also great fun in the bath

i have seen treasure boxes mentioned one here - if he likes emptying boxes why not fill some up for him to empty with lots of random things from around the house- instruments, wooden spoons, rattles, cars, crayons etc

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