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When boredom kicks in- at home with toddler, what do you do? (what can you do!)

(35 Posts)
summer73 Tue 22-Jul-08 13:03:30

I work 3 days a week, the other 2 days I'm at home alone with my 3 year old. I try to plan the day so we do lots of things/get out and about. Yesterday we met my brother in town for a coffee, went to the library, went to the park, watched a bit of CBeebies, did some painting. Normally by about 4 I'm exhausted and bored. Dont have the energy to do anything but of course my daughter is still raring to go. Apart from stick on a dvd and hope dd will immerse herself in it so I can have a break, what else can I do? For me the boredom kicks in at 4 until 7 when my dh comes home and he can take over! Just interested really in what other people get up to. I have a friend who spends all day at home with her son, they rarely venture out and dont do painting or anything but she never seems to be climbing the walls like I do!

MummyToOneForNow Tue 22-Jul-08 13:08:32

Would also love to know - I struggle some days as each activity seems to only last a few minutes (my dd is only 19 mths). Like you I try to fit in a variety of things - we always go for a walk to park/library, try to meet a friend at least once per week, do some drawing/playdoh, read some books, play with some of her toys, do a few jobs round house (she helps unload the dishwasher after I have removed anything dangerous) - I always seem to end up resorting to cbeebies by the end of the day as I am knackered and have run out of inspiration.

summer73 Tue 22-Jul-08 13:13:13

Know what you mean mummytoone, even though my daughters 3 her attention span is limited to say the least. I spend time getting out all the painting equipment, paintbrushes, her special painting top, covering immediate surfacts etc and yet she'll spend a maximum of 10 mintues painting. So frustrating. Have to clear it all away again and move on to the next activity. Sometimes I just let her mooch around, I tell myself I've spent the past 9 hours on the go with her and cant possible do anything else! The only thing I find that does the trick is when I do the ironing, she seems to understand that I'm busy and she cant help at all. Whereas hoovering or polishing she wants to do it all by herself.

mrsgboring Tue 22-Jul-08 13:15:28

Sympathise. I will be back to write more but no time now: just placemarking the thread.

It's not like this all the time, but am definitely having a bored day today.

EffiePerine Tue 22-Jul-08 13:19:57

can you get on with stuff while he watches? You don't need to be doing activities with him all the time (IME). When I'm at home with DS I spend some time washing up/tidying etc. while he 'helps'.

If you have a garden, pottering about with a water spray (you on chair with book) would while away an hour if you're lucky

beeny Tue 22-Jul-08 13:21:13

Am so relieved to read this i usuallly work 3 days a week,ds is 22 months we do walks garden painting meet friends then stuck

MummyToOneForNow Tue 22-Jul-08 13:23:23

My dd won't let me do stuff while she watches - she is pulling on my leg wanting to be picked up or wanting to "help" and there is little she can do at this age (might be better when older - fingers crossed). Thank goodness for afternoon naps!

whooosh Tue 22-Jul-08 13:25:22

Make a "tent"-duvet cover or old sheet strung between 2 chairs and encourage her to have a tea party with her toys in it.

Works for my dd wink

cardy Tue 22-Jul-08 13:25:30

Could you delay your going out until later in the day and therefore get back later making that 4-7 not so bad? I found that part of the day tedious sometimes.

How about meeting a friend with dc and having a picnic in the park for tea?

Will she help you? I used to get dd to sit on the kichen table while I cooked, or sort out washing put things in cupboards etc..

Another thing I used to was try not to have tv until the end of the day that way she would be more likely to sit a watch it.

At about 3 my dd started to play more on her own (to be encouraged imho) while I was close by getting on with a few jobs.

missblythe Tue 22-Jul-08 13:28:18

Does she need to be constantly 'doing'? My DD is a few months younger than yours, but is often at her happiest just hanging out, playing with her dolls, doing drawing or maybe a jigsaw, all of which she gets on with on her own while I get on with chores/emailing etc.

We usually go somewhere in the morning, but often just to the library, or to the shops then swings, but after lunch and her nap, the most we do is go to the postoffice/veg shop and come home again. She's never bored, as far as I can tell.

Maybe I'm just lucky, I know a friend with a DS who needs constant stimulation from her, which must be utterly exhausting.

summer73 Tue 22-Jul-08 13:30:13

Good point Cardy, rather than rush through all the activities during the middle of the day I should try and string them out. Go to the park later in the day maybe or save the library til last! Sometimes though I find that I just have to get out of the house in the mornings, dd actually says around 8 "when are we going out?"! have tried putting her out in the garden to do watering (even bought an expensive playhouse) or play with her teddies while I read the paper but it doesnt work, she expects me to interact ALL the time. She doesnt have any naps anymore either so it literally is the whole day on the go... Its amazes me because at nursery I'm told she can occupy herself and spends ages playing in the homecorner with the toy ovens etc but as soon I buy similar toys for home shes not interested!

missblythe Tue 22-Jul-08 13:33:11

Sounds knackering, Cardy! Are there any toddler groups that you go to where she can play with another lo while you have a cup of tea?

summer73 Tue 22-Jul-08 13:39:46

It is knackering! When she was first born I asked my health visitor about postnatal coffee mornings and most recently toddler groups, she looked at me like I'd lost the plot. I have looked and there seem to be none where I live, there are some a few miles away in another town but unfortunately I dont drive (annoying as hubbie does and the car just sits there during the day when hes at work)so cant get to them. Was on netmums (can I say that, is there any rivalry between netmums and mumsnet?!) the other day and they have women requesting meetups with other mums and I've posted a desperate plea, yet to hear though...

missblythe Tue 22-Jul-08 13:43:02

There must be some! Where do you live?

bubblagirl Tue 22-Jul-08 13:43:55

we go for a walk with magnifying glass and look for bugs

my ds is most happy on computer though or watching dvd he has HFA and is easy to entertain

but if i have a bored day then we go for walk and look for bugs on plants etc

could you have a more relaxed morning and then do all the tiring stuff later on with ds we relax really paint play doh video etc cook

later we will go for the long walk to tire him out then we make pizza together not every day obviously and he will have that for dinner then wind down before bed

always relaxing quiet play for an hour before bed so he is able to unwind to sleep

summer73 Tue 22-Jul-08 13:45:10

I live in Gravesend, Kent. I'm hoping that as dd gets older I can invite her nursery pals round, I've tried to be friendly with the other mums when they're picking their kids up from nursery but they dont seem interested. However, I've been told before that I can come across as unapproachable, whatever that means.... I am a friendly person, honest!

missblythe Tue 22-Jul-08 13:53:38

Summer, could you do any of these?

gravesend groups

I would go mad without having groups to go to, as much for the adult conversation as for DD.

missblythe Tue 22-Jul-08 13:56:43

Gravesend NCT groups

Fun With Mum and Dad
Date: Every Thursday
Opening times: 1 - 2.30pm
Venue: Chalk Parish Hall, Lower Higham Road, Chalk
Contact: Kimberley
Telephone: 0700 5801407
Lots of space for children of all ages. We have craft tables, puzzles, cars, ride ons and songtime to finish. We have a dedicated place for babies to play safely. Everyone welcome!

Active Toddlers
Date: Every Monday
Opening times: 10-12
Venue: St John's Centre, Meopham
Contact: Kimberley
Telephone: 07005 801407
Toys, craft, singing - lots of fun for everyone!!!!

summer73 Tue 22-Jul-08 13:59:12

Thanks MissBlythe, the Thursday one sounds ideal, think I could get a bus, but unfortunately I work that day. The one on Monday is in Meopham which is a bit of anightmare public transport wise but will look into, because even if it means getting a couple of buses it will keep dd interested at the very least!

missblythe Tue 22-Jul-08 14:25:52

Am sure that if you went to teh Monday one, you would find out about other groups too, maybe closer to you. Good luck!

mrsgboring Tue 22-Jul-08 16:06:44

Hi Summer

I have days like this too. I find it essential to go out - it's actually a bonus to go on public transport as far as we're concerned (it's pretty good round here though) DS enjoys it and I can focus on chatting to him.

Some days it just seems impossible to get going - am having a day like that now, but in reality we do do plenty (I'm sure you do too).

Ideas could include:

Painting, sticking, colouring (pick up an Argos catalogue and your DD can cut out interesting things)

Playdough, goo, sand, baby bath full of lentils or water in the garden. Chalking on the house wall or patio.

Cooking and gardening together are fab

Reading books books and more books.

Music - singing, or putting on music and dancing.

Do you have any local farms etc around you?

Lego - we adore it. Also try K'nex or Brio Builder or (we don't have this but your DD might like) Playmobil. A lot of these things are too fiddly and faffy for nursery so they might give her something fresh to do at home.

EachPeachPearMum Tue 22-Jul-08 16:40:35

My dd loves watering the flowers- I fill a bucket, and she just dunks her watering can in herself and toddles off- ideal for the end of the day as she tends to get soaked!
She likes me to watch of course, but at least I'm allowed to collapse in a garden chair and watch from there.

Dancing to music (with Mummy watching from the sofa, preferably with her in front of a mirror) is great for burning off energy too. Use your music so its bearable!

I was going to suggest a play kitchen as I know my dd would spend hours playing with one if we had one (no space), but you said she won't play them at home. DD also likes to do pretend ironing (using a pram blanket over a little table, and a toy seal from her zoo!) while I'm ironing, but to be fair, she will do it if I sit on the sofa too.
She also spends hours running backward and forward with a buggy going 'shopping' especially if I tell her she's forgotten thing from the shops! (bad mummy!)

Are there any toy libraries near you- a great way to vary what she's playing with without a massive outlay.

AuntyJ Tue 22-Jul-08 19:34:56

DD 3.7 has loads of energy.
She loves public transport so we get the bus into town have a drink then the train out.
I also set up an obstacle course in the garden make a cup of tea and sit down and tell her which way round she should do the course. That keeps her busy for at least an hour plus it wears her out.
We have free museums and art galleries where we live and they often put on things for tots.
There is also a gymtots where we live that is run by the local authority they can go crazy on the equipment for an hour then have nursery rhymes to finish off. Thats cheap.

Takver Tue 22-Jul-08 20:01:23

When DD was younger (2 or 3) she could spend hours 'washing' the dishes in the sink (only plastic ones and teaspoons), also washing dolls clothes, bathing dolls etc. So long as there was some kind of 'task' to start her off, she would then spend ages playing with the water
(Do make sure your dc goes on the potty first as hands in warm water seems a surefire way to get them to wet their pants otherwise.)
Another favourite timekiller was a giant collage - send her into the garden to collect materials (leaves, grass, moss et al), then squirt a pattern on lining paper with PVA glue and let her make the picture. I also used to give her lots of lentils, pasta etc to add to the mix. The trick with my dd seemed to be for me to make some kind of 'picture' with the glue, then she could decorate it, as she didn't like drawing. Usually the collecting took at least as long if not longer than the sticking.
Could you start your own mini parents and tots groups with local people - a group of us used to do once a week at each others houses to get round the transport issue

rookiemater Tue 22-Jul-08 21:24:40

My DS is 2.3 and I work 4 days a week. If I am having a day where I feel that the graveyard shift is going to be trying then we head out to my gym for a swimming pool session around 4, then we have DS dinner there, not expensive as just toast and peanut butter. Et voila, exhausted tot is happy to head home and straight to bed.

Yes its blinkin knackering going swimming with him, but I find that once I'm there I get more energy and its different from the normal routine, so less Groundhogdayish.

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