Are you not sure of what to do with your little one? Are you out of ideas of what is “fun”? I hope that I can relieve the uncertainty and spark some creativity!
We love our Regalo Play Yard! We bought the 8 panel and yes, we put it on top of our blanket that we bought at Costco! This allows us to use the play yard indoors and outdoors.
We move the play yard to the backyard and set it up on a patch of grass, we put a couple of toys and his water in the play yard with him, even though he mostly likes to watch us mow, dig holes, and weed whack, even clean the pool! Don’t forget SPF and a hat, if they will wear one.
Being outside is refreshing and brings a new perspective and has lots of benefit for you, and for baby:
- Great way for you and your little one to get Vitamin D
- Great way for your little one to watch you work and learn
- Great way for you to workout when you can’t go to the gym
- Great way for you to contain your little one and get some much needed yard work out of the way!
So as you can see, this is a “great way,” to boost your mood, improve your home and take care of your little one! And it honestly took us about 2-3 hours from start of set up to breakdown, which is a great activity between lunch and a nap.
If you don’t have the playscape, another idea is to take out the stroller during nap time and let them snooze in the fresh air while you work.
Spend more time reading. Even though babies are hard to pin down, try to read 3-5 books before bed. It is really important to take time out of the day and read. Try at first to read in a quiet place and if they really can’t calm down, I just let Theo play in his play pen. He plays with other toys and I read to him. If I read enough he starts to get interested and even starts turning and flipping pages. It is hard at first but you will get it! We spend about 30-45 minutes reading in the evening.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
1 Hour Per Meal
This isn’t just about feeding your kiddos but it is about including them in the process. When we start to make a meal, we put Theo is his Joovy Walker and he watches us in the kitchen. Especially when we are kept inside all day, we have to make food anyways so this is a great activity for him to be included to:
- See how his meals are made
- Learn about cooking
- Walk around and burn some calories before he eats
- Eat a pre-snack cracker to distract his hunger if get’s too hungry!
And… it also:
- Gives us time to whip up something for him
- Prepare our own meal
- Set the table so we can all eat together
We spend about 30 minutes cooking and getting everything ready, because this is also when we feed our dog Ellie. We like to make sure the table is set and that we all sit down for all three meals, our kids are watching our every move more and more each day. It is important to unplug and talk and share a meal together to have a focused meaningful conversation.
And the last 30 minutes is eating together and cleaning up together. Make the last step cleaning up your little one so that you can get everything done before you set them down in the play pen. It is definitely more fun to play with them instead of cleaning up!
3-5 Hours Per Day
It is important for your kids to take a nap so they can recharge and recoup from the day. Theo is not on a schedule and he definitely is not consistent with his naps. We can take a guess of when he will settle down, but sometimes the naps aren’t as long as we hope.
Regardless, if you can, get your little one down for a morning nap, Theo likes to sleep around 11am-1pm, then you can use this time to clean up the house, do some work or even make lunch if you don’t want to do it while they are awake (like my suggestion above).
This is you time though, remember that, this is time for you commit to the things you want down, so here are some tips to make it the most effective:
- Get up early, which means just before the kids wakeup, write down your priorities for the day. Tackle this list during the first nap time.
- Relax, read a book or watch a show
- If your husband can watch the kiddo, go for a walk or a run outside even if it just around the block. That’s what I do!
- Play fetch in the yard
- Connect with your husband
- Take a much needed nap
30 Minutes- 1 Hour
And don’t forget, let them have some free time to themselves! We have a setup so Theo can play all by himself. We try to leave and come back – always watching- but trying to also show him that we can leave and we will come back. This helps with separation issues later on and can also help with clinginess, which is what my doctor suggested. It has definitely helped when we noticed he would just cry to get our attention. He is a sneaky one! Start with 5 minutes and build up with 5 extra minutes every time until you get to 30 minutes total. We do this once in the morning and once in the evening.
Go For a Walk
Okay so this was in Santa Barbara back in August 2019, we definitely don’t have this view in Austin, but the concept is the same! It is so easy to keep your distance from people but to also still go for a walk. We usually get ready and walk for about 1.5-2 miles on our walks, with stops along the way. It is a great way to get fresh air and to also give your little ones something to observe, smell and look at! Think of all the things they see and take in:
- New faces and animals, dogs, cats or even deer too!
- Different smells and flowers
- Sounds and vibrations from cars, bikes and busses
- Colors from the sky, houses, plants and cars
- The taste of the fresh air and feel of the wind along their face
- The sun in their face and the good vitamin D soaking in!
So please, take them outside, let them see the world and your neighborhood!
I hope that this was helpful and I hope that this sparks some creativity to stay home and be with your little ones while we all try to stay safe and help stop the spread. We are the answer and the problem, it just depends on which position you take. We are definitely trying to be part of the solution and to help our neighbors! If you have any questions or you want to know more of our day to day, let me know! I am happy to help and as Theo gets older, I know I will have more suggestions for you.
Thank you so much and be well. Stay strong mamas!