Thanks so much for being here today Carol!
Some of the activities that worked well for me were:
If you can master it, reading a story to your toddler while your newborn is feeding is a great way to make them feel special and included. While this isn’t going to work every time, it’s worth giving it a try. Audio books and children’s eBooks are also a great idea.
Sensory bins are great for toddlers and keep them entertained for a long time. There’s no need to have anything too fancy – young kids are happy with the simplest of things. Some coloured rice, water, pasta or cloud dough. These work great in a simple sand and water table, but if you don’t have that any large container will work. You can find some great simple sensory bin ideas here.
Toddlers love to copy what Mum and Dad are doing, and dolls are a great way to do this. The range of doll accessories is huge and they will love copying Mum and changing the nappy, wearing the doll in the baby carrier and pushing it in the pram.
Let them help
A great way to let your toddler feel included is to let them help. My daughter loved bringing me the nappies and getting out the wipes. I would also let her choose which outfit to dress the baby in and let her help as much as possible.
Stickers are a great activity for toddlers and both of my girls have loved this activity. For the younger toddlers start with large foam stickers as these are easier to play with independently and then move onto smaller stickers. You can pick up stickers from dollar stores, department stores and craft stores and they are very inexpensive. They are also great for fine motor development.
Tablets and iPads
I know that there is a lot of debate about screen time and toddlers, but I have to confess that this was a huge help to me. There is a lot of research coming out that states that it is the quality of the screen time rather than the quantity that is important. That being said, I used to limit this to only the time when I was busy with the baby. It was used as a treat for my toddler and I was very picky about what apps she could use. You can find some of the great educational apps that I recommend here. If you have an iPad the ABC for Kids app is great! I used to carry my iPad with me when I was out shopping as it was a great way to keep my toddler busy while in the parents’ room with my newborn.
Busy bags are simple independent activities that your toddler can do for 10-15 minutes. They are best used as an activity that is given to your toddler when you need them to be quiet and busy (hence the name!) rather than being put with their regular toys. This Toddler Busy Bag Pinterest board has a great collection of ideas.
Juggling a toddler and a newborn is hard. While the above activities are great, if you can get someone to help you out and play and entertain your toddler – do it! They’ll enjoy the one on one attention and maybe, just maybe, you can take a nap with the baby!
Carol is the owner of My Bored Toddler, a website full of activities to keep you toddler busy! You can follow her on Pinterest, Facebook. Twitter and Instagram.