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How to keep a 17mo happy

(9 Posts)
Hayls Wed 22-Jun-05 13:22:18

My dd is nearly 17mo and I'm finding it increasingly difficult to think of things to keep her intersted and happy. DH is always inventing silly games that she loves but it seems to be a quality that I'm sadly lacking. I love her to bits but just don't seem to have any imagination and she gets so bored whenever she's with me.

She spends 2 days a week at nursery and dh is home at the weekends so I depserately need some suggestions on things we can do together. We often meet up with a few other friends once a week and go out for breakfast every Friday morning (her sausage treat) and other activities are:
-playing int he garden/paddling pool/picnics/ park/footy
-painting/colouring in
-soft play (occasionally)
-baking (i.e. she eats the cake toppings)
-watching Teletubbies videos
-sometimes she helps me wash windows or hoover (with her own stuff)
-planting seeds etc in garden

She seems to be bored with all these now.

I cannot think of anyhting else we do together. I feel so cr8ppy that we don't do more. she needs me to lead her but I seem to expect her to be more independent and enertain herself more (I know-she's oly 17 mo!) If I could think of some really exciting things to do it would be great for both of us.
PLease please post some ideas- it would be so much appreciated by me and dd!

jabberwocky Wed 22-Jun-05 13:26:35

I think you're last bit of post is really the most important thing. She does need to be more independent at this age. Give her a cupboard in the kitchen with plastic container and lids, pots and pans to bang, etc. and let her play while you are working in there. Let her sit with a picture book and look at it while you are on MN! I do enjoy spending time with ds, don't get me wrong and we do lots of things together. But, early on, I realized that I was driving myself to distraction trying to keep him entertained and that wasn't a good thing in the long run for either of us.

acnebride Wed 22-Jun-05 13:47:01

Hayls, I'm so glad to see this thread as I've been thinking about asking this for a month or so - ds is 17 months too. I really struggle to think of things and sometimes ds gives me this look that makes me feel v boring. Worse as we can hear his p/t nanny with the other child she looks after in the garden behind ours, laughing away and having a good time - deep feelings of inadequacy here as I wander around with him racking my brain for something to do.

Anyway, I think it's brilliant that you do painting, I've been too crap to organise that and he hasn't shown much interest in crayons. I'm also with you on the house and garden work. DS loves watering plants at the moment, though there's much agony over him being supposed to use the small watering can. Also hoovering, emptying the dishwasher (though we have a lot less plates now) and 'stirring' things. Actually, sometimes I really do get him to stir things, although I've never tried cakes with him yet. What else? -

He already quite likes the sheet-draped-over-chairs thing, not obviously a complicated game of house, but just both of us crawling under it and maybe bringing his teddy in and having a 'conversation'.

He does like wheeled vehicles - a boy thing? - but I have got several from charity shops and fetes and he will brroom them along quite a bit. He also likes a toy horse, gallopy gallopy - I look out for any animal he has pointed out in his books. He has an ancient push along car which can be quite good in the garden.

We go to the library a LOT as it's quite big and he can run around a bit and we can take out something ridiculous like 20 books.

There's a music class near us and he is finally showing some interest in this. I do work at learning songs as when i am too bored to speak I can still sing things with him. A bit of dancing when things are really tough - highlights of Swan Lake are the best I've found, because I used to dance to them when I was little.

He will sit quite happily for a bit in very busy places, just looking at the people, especially if he is having his mid-morning/mid-afternoon snacks. Not sure if everyone does snacks but I do it just to break up the day.

Buses - quite cheap entertainment I think. Also trains. There's a station near us thank God.

Water - we're near a river and he likes looking at the weir, also chucking sticks into the river can go on for some time - primitive form of Poohsticks. I've considered taking him on the river in a boat - I have friends who do this with little ones - but apathy intervenes as what with lifejackets etc it would be expensive.

I suppose we could get a small slide in the garden, but we go to the playground because it takes more time each way plus I might meet someone and go back for tea. I learn a lot about things to do from seeing other mums with their kids (usually older though).

Posting things into recycling banks. he loves this although it's hard on the back.

Anywhere with lifts.

This all sounds a bit urban but I'm hoping by sharing stuff we'll all pick up a bit. I'm definitely going to buy some paints this pm - takes 15 mins to walk to Toys R us so that's the best part of an hour...

tabitha Wed 22-Jun-05 13:52:01

I think you're doing loads with your dd Hayls - she sounds very lucky.
I also agree with jabberwocky about sometimes letting her play herself whild you get on with other things. My dd is almost the same age as yours and one of her favourite things is playing with her older brother's Duplo or toy cars (we've got loads of both of them).
Have racked my brains for other ideas for you, so what about playdough (make your own or buy made up); swimming; gym club (my dd goes to 'Mini-gyms' and I think that loads of councils run simmilar things); musical instruments; reading; putting her in the bath with all her toys just for fun and not necessarily to wash her; blowing bubbles. Also why not get a book out of the library that might give you more ideas.
But to be honest I think your doing brilliantly with her

Donbean Wed 22-Jun-05 14:05:09

I too think that you are doing brilliant stuff with your dd.

I have a toddler myself and to be quite honest he is happy doing "stuff" as long as he is in the same room as me.
We have a good routine with eats up the hours:
Morning bottle, watch big brother!
Brecky then we pull a chair up to the sink and he "helps" me wash up. He is happy with this for about 40 mins!
Then upstairs, i get showered he has a good old bounce on my bed and watches cbeebies.
He gets dressed, i take ages over all of these and make them into a game.
Then downstairs tidy up, he helps me hoover or whatever. We play with his toys, i rotate them and put some away. When you eventually get them out again after a few weeks its like you are giving them a brand new toy!
We either go for walks, up to the local large park, feed ducks go on swings etc.
Soft play once a week, activity centre once a week,swimming occasionally.
Play dates at least one a week...other peoples toys are always fab!
Also i have no qualms about staying in and mooching round the house all day catching up with washing/ironing/ houseworky things.
When we do this though i try to invite some one round for a play date to break up the day and include some adult conversation for me.
All in all we are a busy pair.
I dont think that it is possible for toddlers to be bored, there is so much undiscovered and unexplored world out there. Every where they look there is some thing different and new for them.

Hayls Wed 22-Jun-05 14:10:22

Thanks for your replies. I do try to get her to play independently but it's as if she needs to keep coming back for reassurance and a cuddle every few minutes. Some days I hardly see her and others she's round my feet all the time. I've been trying to think of other things we do- we go swimming at the weekends and used to do Tumble Tots but tbh I didn't enjoy it and it clashes with her nap now. SHe plays lots in the garden on various ride ons and I've just bought her a teaset, which I'll give her when she comes home from nursery. SHe also likes playing with soft toys, especially a skanky monkey.

Maybe she's not bored of the activities but bored with me? 'Daddy time' always sounds so exciting!
Acnebride, good luck with the painting. WE do it on a huge waterproof mat with aprons on the kitchen floor but in this weather outside is probably better. I even let dd paint my arms and legs, much to her amusement.

Any more suggestions would be much appreciated

zubb Wed 22-Jun-05 14:12:35

Ds2 is 19 months and loves books / colouring / jigsaws / dancing / singing if we are inside. He also plays with cars a lot - but only if they are ds1's!
He helps with polishing / washing.
At the moment though he'd rather be outside - he plays in a play tent & tunnel / kicks and throws balls (will do this for ages) / waters the plants and himself / plays in the sand pit / digs in the mud etc.

Obviously for some of these I'm needed - throwing balls - but for a lot of them he just gets on with it.

acnebride Wed 22-Jun-05 14:15:03

Daddy time sounds pretty good to me too

I think a lot of this is inside our heads. I tend to worry that i'm boring my friends, not entertaining them enough, can't think of things to say to them/say the wrong things. Funnily enough I worry about the same things with ds.

Pomi Thu 23-Jun-05 13:57:11

I am realy embarrassed as i do nothing with my 17 month old. I have to do cleaning and cooking while he is entertained himself. I also have a 6 month old to look after. I do give him a long bath in the evening and thats all i do. Or take him for a walk as i have to do some shopping. no music, no play group, no painting, no gardening and no...

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