So, your toddler is the busy type, huh? Spoiler alert: it never stops, and it won’t quit. Nothing keeps your baby down. On the flip side, it gets you down because you feel like you never get any rest! Phew…you need a break, and it’s OK to feel that way.
Hopefully, the tips below will give you some golden nuggets on how to manage a toddler, who is more robust than the energizer bunny!
Feel free to mix and match, customize a routine that will help you to manage your highly active child.
1. Massive Playpen Setup
There are varying sizes of playpen that allows space for your child to roam around, playing with all of his or her favorite things! If your toddler must touch everything, having a massive and contained playpen area, could be the trick.
This is most useful when you need to move about and clean the house. You know that your baby is contained and has enough items to be busy with. Adding age-appropriate music can be another great distraction while you clean.
The point is to create a world around them with everything they need to be busy in a contained space. In such a space, you can easily keep an eye out.
2. Run, Jump and Play
At some point, your toddler is going to be over being confined to a massive playpen, no matter how appealing it is!
Hopefully, during that time, you can check some things off your list. For your toddler, there might need to be a reason to engage in a greater energetic release. Run, jump, and play outside. Be an instigator run, jump, and play to help wear out some of that energy. You get to have exercise and let your baby run out of some of that flowing energy.
If there is any yard work or light things to do in the backyard, that is more opportunity to let the busyness run free! You are there watching and working. Or, of course, you can kick back in your lounge too!
Being strategic in how to let a busy child roam free (or, slightly contained) gives you a way to maximize better what needs to get done, and let your toddler burn some energy.
3. Incorporating Down Time
At this age, it is a good time to teach a toddler about being stationary. You can use your kiddos room for practice. Set out certain toys and books, turn on a timer for 20 to 30 minutes. You can teach your child that it’s quiet time, and they can’t come out until the timer goes off.
In fact, at any given time during the day, you can try that method. Especially if your child is just way too much, this is a way to slow him or her down without it feeling like punishment.
4. Give Your Baby Something to Take Care of
Just as you have a routine with your baby, your toddler can have a routine with his or her favorite doll or stuffed animal. You can be key in helping your child figure out what their process should be. Maybe the toy needs to be fed, read a story, have a change of clothes, and play with friends.
You could even have a morning routine and evening routine to help your toddler slow down towards bedtime.
5. Put on Mr. Rogers Neighborhood
Seriously! Most media for children are highly stimulating and keep them wound up. However, Fred Rogers knew and understood the makeup of children. His shows were designed to match their development and to teach them something.
The pace at which his episodes unfold is very steady and intentional. It has a way of grabbing kids’ attention in a different way than traditional media for kids.
Give it a try! You might even get two episodes in a row and be able to get work done around the house. Or, even slip in a cat nap.
6. Let Someone Else Take the Brunt of Busyness
If you are able, why not hire a babysitter once a week. You can even still be at home while the sitter is there, but taking care of business. You can check-in and keep an eye out while being productive or just having some ME time.
Also, there is an option called “Mom’s Day Out,” which allows you to have your kiddo go to daycare for four to six hours a day. You can send your child there two times a week.
Are grandma and grandpa up for a ride? Perhaps, there is a day or two out the week in which they can support at very particular times. Things like beginning new routines that will eventually have things running smoother.
If you have the option of having some brunt force people in your life, definitely use their assistance when you can.
7. Gentle Outside Playtime Before Bedtime
Fresh air helps stir up and stimulate our melatonin. So, time outside could be doing some hands-on like building legos. It could also be playtime with clay, or just simply having a bedtime story. Teach your child some breathing exercises and stretches. Add that to a nice warm bath, and you will have a very relaxed child.
You can better enjoy the rest of the evening leading up to bedtime.
8. Let Your Toddler Be Free
It can be a lot to have a routine for every waking hour of the day with your baby. Sometimes, toddlers are just going to be extra busy, no matter what you do. Have sometime during the day where you don’t have a plan to cap the busyness.
If there are designated safe places in your home to let your toddler just be, allow it. Kids need management and routine, but they also need some sense of just roaming free. Of course, in ways you feel comfortable, it also gives you a micromanaging break.