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To ask what you do all day with your (demanding) toddlers?

(120 Posts)
Hoardernomore Sat 22-Sep-18 08:53:08

Dd is 2.8
She gets up about 7am and doesn’t go to bed ubtil 9.30pm. She doesn’t nap and hasn’t since she was 18 months.
She is very good at playing, in a way ds didnt, but she wants me to play with her a lot of the time. As she is awake for 14+ hours a day and doesn’t nap I’m finding it hard to get anything done as once she’s finally asleep between 9.30 and 10pm as I’ve tidied up a bit I’m ready for bed myself.
She loves to play with tiny things, her dolls’ house, sylvanians, shopkins and she will play for 4/5 hours in one go, going back to her game if interrupted for lunch for example. However she wants me to play too - I reckon I’m doing about 6 hours of heavy involved 1:1 play at the moment! We go out quite a bit so most of the time I’m in the house I’m having to play. The only way out is the tv or the iPad (she’s currently watching tv), and even that isn’t reliable as she isn’t that fussed a lot of the time. If I start off playing and then say ‘I’m going to do x and will come back after’ she just cries and calls me and follows me round the whole time. Sometimes she gets very involved in what she’s doing and forgets I’m not there and will play on her own but that doesn’t help very often.

I’m losing the will to live. There’s only so many times I can play at baby squirrel wanting his toys and Aunty rabbit losing her purse. Argh! I don’t remember this with ds but he didn’t play in the same way. By this age he liked games too, like snap and pairs. Dd has absolutely no interest. Neither will she build, do jigsaws, colour (will paint) or look at books on her own. She is ALL about small world play. Even when she goes to bed she will go up crying because she’s had to stop playing and in the morning will get up and resume where she left off.

How do people occupy their toddlers (apart from with a screen)? I’m finding 14 hour days a lot and even though we go out for several hours a day to groups etc it’s still leaving me with a fair bit of time in the house AND the weather is going to get worse.

Hoardernomore Sat 22-Sep-18 08:54:31

Doesn’t happen very often. Not doesn’t help. It would help a lot!

woodwaj Sat 22-Sep-18 09:00:32

That sounds draining. What happens when her bedtime is brought forward? You say you go to groups..have you considered a play group where you leave her for a few hours?

Hoardernomore Sat 22-Sep-18 09:03:53

She just doesn’t sleep sad. She will go to sleep pretty well straight away when she is tired and sleeps through but if I put her to bed any earlier she gets in and out of bed and shouts for me and cries and whinges and I end up up and down the stairs and then she finally goes to sleep about 9.30pm! I’ve accepted the fact that she just won’t sleep before then and the hour and a half battle before hand just winds me up and doesn’t allow me any time to do much so I may as well just put her down about 9.30. I did try for a week or so trying to get her down earlier because I felt like she should sleep more than she does.

Hoardernomore Sat 22-Sep-18 09:04:26

No I don’t leave her at the moment. We go to groups but I stay too.

PietariKontio Sat 22-Sep-18 09:05:46

It's been a long time since my kids were that young, but honestly a big part of their day was going out; whatever the weather. Wellies, waterproofs, long walks, pet shops (free zoos!), duck feeding.
I just found that the great outdoors provided not only fun and experiences, but also some tired out, slower paced, less demanding kids afterwards!

scrivette Sat 22-Sep-18 09:07:56

Oh goodness that must be hard.

When you need to do things around the house can you get her involved too? If I am pegging washing DS hands me legs, loads the machine, if I am washing up he 'washes up' in his own kitchen. That way you are still engaging with her but getting things done.

Frazzledkate Sat 22-Sep-18 09:09:44

No words of advice, sorry. Just sympathy--I find all that kind of play so, so tedious and dull that it could send me quite insane! Then I feel terribly guilty for only doing it so long each day. I had three in quick succession and the older two play together and get on so well it has been my saviour. But then I get a bit jealous they don't need me more! But yes, I found having one the hardest of all. I'd say perhaps you have to be a little more strict and have a schedule where it's play together time, story time, TV time, books and down time etc. Set limits.

ShovingLeopard Sat 22-Sep-18 09:10:10

No wisfom to impart, I'm afraid, but perching here for tips, as my 3.2 year old is exactly the same, with the lack of sleep and small worlds. I currently deal with it by making sure we are out for several hours a day on non-nursery day.

00100001 Sat 22-Sep-18 09:13:13

I used to lock mine in a cage ;)

Hoardernomore Sat 22-Sep-18 09:15:42

Yes we go out quite a lot - usually take ds to school, pop home and I (try) and do a few things I need to do and then we will go out until it’s time to fetch ds from school. In the summer we sometimes - probably 2/3 time a week - will go out with ds somewhere after school for an hour so we aren’t home until 5ish and then I do dinner. However when we get home at 3.30 there are still SIX hours until she will go to bed <weeps>. I find that time really hard to fill.

GinevraFanshawe Sat 22-Sep-18 09:16:17

Mine is similar, very wearing! We try to go out to playgroups, the woods, the library, as many friends’ houses as possible, and I get him to “help” with the housework/ cooking & ignore a certain amount of following me around whinging. This too shall pass!

Dahlietta Sat 22-Sep-18 09:16:55

DS1 was exactly the same in terms of wanting someone to play with him. He wouldn't watch the TV at all! He's 6 now and slowly getting better at occupying himself... He did at least go to bed quite early grin. I second going out, just doing normal stuff. He loved doing things like going to the supermarket because he just wanted to be interacting with me. I also used to occasionally set a timer by about your daughter's age, for something like 20 minutes at first, and tell him that I wouldn't play with him until the bell went off. Then I could have a cup of tea in relative peace! I think being able to see the timer meant he could cope with enforced playing by himself, because he understood there would be an end to it...!

PourMeAGlassOfMilk Sat 22-Sep-18 09:17:07

That sounds exhausting. I think you need a medal. In terms of getting things done, Can you involve her in doing the jobs? Give her a dry cloth when you're dusting, let her wash up some plastic cups/plates etc while you whizz round the kitchen. Ask her to match up socks so peg on the line?

Rainatnight Sat 22-Sep-18 09:18:25

Will post more later but just wanted to say you have GOT to knock this bedtime thing on the head. I know you've tried, but I think you need to have another go with very firm, 'back to bed, time for sleep', no eye contact, no engaging, etc. You'll need to do it 60 times a night and it might take a couple of weeks but you will get there. It's not feasible or reasonable that you don't get an evening.

Does she go to nursery or are you at home with her all the time?

Hoardernomore Sat 22-Sep-18 09:18:56

She’s not very interested in helping me unless it involves baking or spraying water everywhere whilst pretending to clean! I find I get five minutes here and there but no proper length of time to do anything properly. I’ve started staying up until midnight to try and get things done but now I’m really tired!

Hoardernomore Sat 22-Sep-18 09:20:18

She isn’t at nursery yet.
It also means that I can’t go out anywhere of an evening as do refuses to do bedtime with her or deal with her if I’m out. If she’d go about 7.30/8 I could occasionally meet friends for a meal or drink. I’ve given up arranging anything as only have to cancel when she’s still awake.

SortingTheDrawers Sat 22-Sep-18 09:20:48

Mine is 1y 10 months and very demanding on that he is constantly on the go. As in dancing, running, shouting, climbing, jumping etc and he wants someone to witness everything so if we’re home I constantly hear “muuuuuum” shouted at the top of his voice every 2-3 minutes. grin

The way I deal with it is three fold.

1. Get out the house lots, playgroups, parks, museums, galleries, walks, etc This get him tired enough that number 2 works.

2. Bedtime is 7pm to 5.30/6am. It is a bit too early for my liking but I’d rather have the evening to myself for my sanity. It took a while to implement the early bedtime but I just kept gradually bringing his bedtime forward by 10 minutes until I got to 7pm. Same routine every night is key.

3. Involve him in everything I do. Loading the washing machine, going to the toilet, cooking meals, sweeping the floor, etc

emergency plan = CBeebies

Cheeseplantandpickle Sat 22-Sep-18 09:21:53

Can you put her in nursery a few mornings? Or is this weekends only?
I would work on putting her upstairs earlier and leaving her to it. My now 3 and 4 year old would be in their beds at 7, but not asleep until 8 sometimes but would look at a book/ chat/ play with teddies.

Rainatnight Sat 22-Sep-18 09:22:43

Does your post above means DP refuses to deal with her without you? Wow.

Also - your DD has a lot of the power in your house. That's what's coming across to me.

Cheeseplantandpickle Sat 22-Sep-18 09:23:50

I see she's not at nursery.

Agree re bedtime. I wouldn't be reasonable if my kids were up until 9; I go to bed at 10.

SortingTheDrawers Sat 22-Sep-18 09:23:58

Sorry meant to say that 5.30/6am is a bit too early in the morning for me but I’d rather halve the child free evening and wake up early.

Hoardernomore Sat 22-Sep-18 09:24:59

We don’t get any hours funded yet and I couldn’t afford to put her in when I’m at home anyway.

Upsy1981 Sat 22-Sep-18 09:26:51

Could she go to a nursery/playgroup for a couple of sessions? My DD was similar but she started at a playgroup doing 2 morning sessions a week when she was 2.5 ish. I worked 2 days a week then so she did one session during the time my mum had her to free up some time for my mum and one session one on of my days. She then built up more when she was 3. She was ready for it, needed the stimulation, other kids to play with (only child), other adults to entertain her etc. By the time session finished at 12 and we'd got home, had lunch etc, the day felt much shorter! And I could get some errands done without a child in tow.

MessyBun247 Sat 22-Sep-18 09:27:10

Could she go to a playgroup in the mornings? DD2.8 will be going to one when she turns 2.10. It’s from 9am-12 and only costs £9 per session which is cheaper than day nursery.

It would give your DD lots of play opportunities and stimulation, you would get a much needed break and then she might be happier to play on her own and chill out in the evenings?

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