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What do you do with your kids in the day if at home?

(16 Posts)
Fortifiedwithvitaminsandiron Tue 07-Feb-17 11:39:59

Everything I try seems to end in a tantrum, or disaster.

I have a nearly-3 year old and an 18 month old. They have a playroom where we play/read etc. but if I try to do some more 'structured' activity like painting/craft etc. it always seems to end in someone having a screaming tantrum. My eldest is at the age where he massively loves CBeebies and I can see I'm starting to find it far to easy to just switch on the TV for him if he's, well, whining.

I need some inspiration - can you throw some ideas at me as to what has worked for your DCs? Especially if similar age gaps as I find this is the biggest challenge in many ways.

Thanks x

Avebury Tue 07-Feb-17 12:49:20

You need a bit of structure to your days to stop you going insane. Is your 3 year old in pre school at all? If so then don't stress about painting etc. As they can do that there.

I found getting up and out quite useful because for some reason when you return from somewhere they are more likely to go and play for a bit.

Can you rotate toys a bit or sometimes I used to strap them in the buggy, race back in and leave something they hadn't seen for a while like a box of happy land in the middle of the floor or I'd build a train track before I went to bed for them to discover in the morning.

Apart from that just do what you need to do and involve them. If you are cooking give them mushrooms to chop or a handful of Cheerios and raisins to stir. They can help hang up laundry or unload the dishwasher. It makes it all a bit slower but who cares?

And as for the tv don't beat yourself up. If you can see that you might have a child it becomes a battle with then maybe for a while have set times it goes on so after breakfast while you get showered and sorted for the day or after lunch when you all need a sit down. And don't get into negotiation / give a warning that it will be going off at the end of this show and then stick to it.

You're at a tricky stage but it will come good. I also felt no guilt about spending money on different and interesting toys at that stage (nct sales were a godsend) because they were what 'bought' me time.

Avebury Tue 07-Feb-17 12:55:03

As for ideas -

A piece of guttering propped up against the sofa to race cars down

Action songs they can both join in with

Aqua draw mat

Sending them each to find something and bring it to you - use letters/colours (can you find me something yellow) for the older one and more specific instructions (can you find me a teddy) for the youngest

Cleaning skirting boards and cupboard fronts with baby wipes

Very basic baking or even make a batch of cakes yourself and let them decorate them

It will be so much easier once the weather improves - hang in there!

PeppaAteMySoul Tue 07-Feb-17 13:05:17

Today we have baked some cookies, read a pile of books, done some colouring. The 3 year old had played with toy cars and trains while I fed the baby. I have promised a disco later. (We just put the radio on and dance around the living room).
As for right now we are having an hour of CBeebies while I have a cup of tea and it's bliss!
I normally try and divide the day into half and let put the tv on for an hour in the middle. It gives me a break to look forward to when I'm being jumped on/ forced to play repetitive games.
It's hard though especially with this awful weather!

Somehowsomewhere Tue 07-Feb-17 13:08:12

Mine are just 3 and 18 months, and we have the same problem! Basically, we don't really spend any time at home. I will only attempt painting/crafts etc with DD1 when DD2 is having her nap. We aim for a morning activity and an afternoon one out of the house, only home at lunchtime/nap time. It's the only way we stay sane!

ODog Tue 07-Feb-17 13:12:29

I have been searching for ideas recently for my toddler and 9mo. Especially as months of cold/dark/wet weather is starting to get the better of me.

Firstly we try to get out every morning to a playgroup/rhyme time/ships etc. Home for lunch and naps and then the afternoon is much more manageable.

We do the following sorts of things:

Chores (toddler 'helps')
Get in our bed and read a few books
Play in the garden with balls/bikes/sand and diggers
Roll of wallpaper on the floor and draw all over it (or lay down and draw round each other)
Making cakes using those easy pre-measured boxes
Make pizzas
Big towel on the floor and bowl of water to play with (doubles as mopping the floor in my book too!)

Hope this helps

unlimiteddilutingjuice Tue 07-Feb-17 13:15:11

3 and 18 months are awkward ages. There's a big difference in development so they wont like the same things. Plus: neither are quite old enough to have much of an attention span.

I found that period difficult and tbh did rely on the TV quite a lot. Along with just trying to be out of the house as much as possible.

I'm trying to remember what they liked at that age...
Garage and toy cars was a hit...
Brio was a miss (older one built track- younger one trashed it)
Simple baking worked for the older one but not the younger one.
Neither got into drawing...
Nah, it was just TV if I'm honest blush

They are 4 and nearly 2 now and its much, much better.

You might want to check out Janet Landsbury and RIE Parenting more generally. I discovered it a bit late for my kids (its best for birth to 2) and I wish I'd found it earlier. The entire premise is to create play spaces and encourage independent play. There's lots of good tips of the Janet Landsbury blog.

NoCapes Tue 07-Feb-17 13:15:35

When I had a few little ones at home I broke up the day into a few chunks
So I'd do - up/breakfast/get ready before 9, then at 9 my first chunk started so I'd do one thing, then have tidy up and a snack/drink, then another activity, tidy up and lunch, then naptime/quiet time (story CDs, jigsaws, colouring) then there'd be another one, tidy up and snack/drink, then something else, tidy up for dinner, quiet time and bath/stories/bed

The 'activities' varied from going out somewhere, playing playdoh or just getting out a specific toy/set of toys, I wasn't necessarily involved in each activity, but having a structure in my head and a time to aim for for each bit to be over really helped me

pileoflaundry Tue 07-Feb-17 13:26:11

I second helping with household chores, and having toys on rotation (pack some into a box, take it out in 3 months' time, it will be like Christmas). Puzzles and games from local charity shops, get brought out for good behaviour. Tons of books from the library (can you get out at all?).

Aquaplay isn't cheap, but keeps the DC occupied for a fair while, especially with the set up and mopping up afterwards. Paddling pool indoors (use a massive ground sheet), or fill with pool balls. Play bath (no washing, just playing and squirting) in the middle of the day.

I found that TV at that age just led to more whining, and no matter how tempting it was to use it to get 5 minutes' peace, I would then pay for that 5 minutes several times over.

Somehowsomewhere Tue 07-Feb-17 13:38:28

I often set mine to work cleaning the patio doors with baby wipes!

Corneliagoescamping Tue 07-Feb-17 13:40:14

In February too much TV is inevitable! As long as you intersperse it with some reading books, snack time, walks, playgroup etc it is just what you need to do to get through the days. They won't be like that forever. Make your days as easy and happy as possible. Music and a bit of dancing, as someone else says, is a good activity when other things don't work, as is singing songs together. We also get biscuit tins, saucepans, wooden spoons etc and bang things to make noise. All mine think that is fun.

Fortifiedwithvitaminsandiron Tue 07-Feb-17 13:58:58

Thanks so much everyone. I have been feeling terribly guilty these past few days about how crap I seem to be doing but seeing that others find it a challenge and that TV isn't the devil (As some Mummy 'friends' seem to imply) has made me feel tons better smile

I found that TV at that age just led to more whining, and no matter how tempting it was to use it to get 5 minutes' peace, I would then pay for that 5 minutes several times over.

Although I completely relate to this ^^ and think I need to find a better balance as at the moment things like getting dressed are proving a battle if he's watching Postman Pat fuck up another delivery on his rounds

NennyNooNoo Tue 07-Feb-17 13:59:51

I have a nearly 3 year old too who if allowed to (she's not) would happily spend all day in front of a screen. We try to go out every morning during the week, mostly to a playgroup / activity session or shopping. I find keeping to a rough routine helps. You can do toddler groups but also activities run by sure start which are very cheap or free, rhyme time sessions at your local library, swimming, walk outside etc.

ODog Tue 07-Feb-17 14:01:05

Oh and cosmic (something like that) yoga on YouTube. They do kid themed yoga sessions. It's TV but I feel less guilty about it!

NennyNooNoo Tue 07-Feb-17 14:03:22

Will your nearly 3 year old be starting nursery next term, OP? If so, then that should make things easier for you.

Somehowsomewhere Tue 07-Feb-17 14:34:45

Oh and I do put the TV on, but neither of them are that bothered by it! I'll sit them in front of the TV to try and buy myself 5 mins peace to drink a coffee and all I hear is 'what can we do now?'. It's a pain in the arse!

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