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Is more toys the answer to a bored toddler? And how to get more active.

(8 Posts)
threeinabed Fri 17-Jun-11 09:07:07

Hi, I have a nearly 3yo and DTs who are 5mths. My 3yo is doing really well but is clearly get more and more bored. I would appreciate any advice from those that have big families or have had similar issues they overcome.

I spend lots of time with my eldest, as much as I can whilst caring for the DTs. We do groups (I have a babysitter whilst we do this), we see friends, we have 1-2-1 time where we do arty things, cook, play with toys, go outside etc when the babies are asleep, I cuddle her, I give her loads of love and read to her at bedtime. I have plenty of ideas for activities when we get the chance, though she seems half-hearted sometimes. She's not in nursery. I try to limit jobs until the evening. But she has always been very attached to her mummy and if I'm not there to play with her the whole time, she quickly gets bored and surly. I don't blame her, playing on your own wouldn't be as much fun after all. But I also owe the babies some time and need to get on with things (ha ha, like posting on MN - but I very rarely logon until the evening).

So is new toys the answer? Her old ones are getting a bit young for her as she goes from toddler to pre-schooler and she will in any case be getting birthday gifts soon. But will that really work if I'm not there to play with her? If not, any ideas?

This aside, she hardly ever wants to go out and says she prefers it at home. Maybe because I give her more attention at home? But I want her to get more active so that she enjoys being energetic. I'm not sure how to do this - she's just not an outside kinda gal and I guess I'm not either, though I try to hide this instinct so she learns differently from me.

Any thoughts on boredom then? Thanks

shouldbeelswhere Fri 17-Jun-11 10:02:41

I haven't got a big family just DS 7 and DD 2.5 so I've not got the pressures you have, but I wonder does your 3yo go to nursery at all? My DD seemed to be getting bored so she goes to nursery 2 mornings a week and now she seems more content when we do things together or she plays on her own. I think she really benefits from time away rather than having just me or her sibling around. She's starting to have her own life too and it's really brought on her conversation! I think it's good for me as I have more free time and we have something new to talk about.

titferbrains Fri 17-Jun-11 10:08:31

Nursery was the answer with my DD too. 2 or 3 mornings is fine.

Re-organising toys can help - cheap boxes with each kind of toy - I don't think little ones are very good with big baskets of toys, they never get to the bottom of them.

Is there a toy library near you?

Do you have enough outdoor toys? DD had her scooter at 2.3yo and it has been a godsend, for independence, exercise, appetite etc. Mini trampoline?

DD likes all her bigger toys, things that she can push around - a little shopping trolley from Argos has been a hit, as has a doll with bath and various bits for washing it.

LoonyRationalist Fri 17-Jun-11 10:50:45

I agree my dd1 got loads out of attending pre-school at this age. It also helped her to begin to play a little more independently.

Regarding active stuff

Other active stuff
Nature Walks - collect things to make a picture with later perhaps
Play parks - My dd's like varying the many play parks in our area - we regularly visit at least 8 and they will run around like mad things for as long as I can bear it.
Swimming (although I guess you would need childcare for this)

TFB suggested a scooter which is a fab idea too

trice Fri 17-Jun-11 11:07:19

I think the answer is for her to meet more children her own age. Even if they just play alongside each other they find each other fascinating. Have you got any neighbours who are about the same age?

Tgger Fri 17-Jun-11 11:08:04

Pre-school is great for stimulation at this age. Different adults to entertain her ;-)) and other kids to play with. Win win for all? Should be!

Otherwise can you find stuff that you and her do enjoy doing together. Most kids do like natural environments like woods if you can get there? Trick is to slow down to their pace- they probably say they don't want to go just because they are not used to it/or maybe if you aren't in your comfort zone?

You don't need loads of toys but the odd really good one goes a long way. At about this age they get really into crafty stuff as well- making, sticking/drawing. It might seem like they are just scribbling/making a mess, but to them it is gold- my daughter is really into this stuff now and joins in well with her big bruv.

I think "school" of some sort can help them get used to playing by themselves although I have to say quite a bit is personality. DD was always good at doing this whereas DS had to be encouraged and encouraged...

threeinabed Fri 17-Jun-11 20:34:26

Hi, thanks for all the responses. DD isn't in nursery at present but will start pre-school in September so I hope that will help. Settling in might be an issue as she does find crowds of children very daunting.

All great suggestions about activities and I do really do lots of things with her already. It's just that there are lots of nappy changing moments, putting down for naps, bottle preparation times, now weaning times etc etc. I wonder maybe if she has a touch of sibling rivalry, though she's sweet with her sisters.

Sigh it'll soon be September....


shouldbeelswhere Sat 18-Jun-11 09:26:03

most (all?) preschools / nurseries have a settling in period, they're very conscious of this being a big transition for both parent and child, she'll have a key worker or named person which helps it all feel less daunting so try not to worry to much. I tried one nursery with DD but it felt too big and chaotic so didn't feel it was right for her (though it's got an excellent reputation and I'd had her name down for ages). We did a pre starting visit and I hated it so we found somewhere that's smaller and quieter! Just a thought, are you talking to her about it already? on the lines of when you go to preschool there will be lots of new toys to play will play and I will go (and think of something really boring that she hates and say you'll be doing that!) and when I finish I'll come and get you at ?o'clock. Then you're giving her plenty of time to get used to the idea. Does she help with the fetching and carrying stuff when you're doing nappies, bottle prep etc? so she feels involved with caring for the DT's? She might find it helpful or so boring she goes and plays on her own for a while.

It sounds like things are pretty exhausting for you at the moment. Hang in there. I haven't got twins but I know that I felt guilty about not giving all my attention to my 1st child when caring for my 2nd, which is a bit mad and unrealistic! We give ourselves such a hard time sometimes...

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