Toddler Sleep Regressions

sleep regression effects

The term every parent doesn’t want to hear.

You think you finally getting the hang of raising a toddler, your sleep patterns have gotten a little more regular, you no longer act like a zombie during daylight hours. Everything seems to be going pretty smoothly, and then it happens.

Your toddler starts to take a lot longer to go to sleep of a night, your toddler goes through a couple of days without naps, or what starts off as one bad night of sleep turns into multiple nights.

sleep regression

You start to wonder if you have done anything different? or if your child might be sick, and then it clicks. That dreaded term you had only heard rumors of or read about online comes back to haunt you. That’s right

Toddler Sleep Regressions

Yes they are a real thing that the majority of us will experience. They are not just a legend told to scare parents.

Thankfully there is plenty of information available online from experts about what exactly a sleep regression is: sleep regression refers to a period of time when a baby or toddler who’s been sleeping well suddenly begins waking at night and during naptime, or even refusing to go to sleep at all (Baby Sleep Site).

So at least you will know if you are going through an actual regression, or you know, your child is just being painful.

If you have been following for awhile I have actually written about this before in A Good Nights Sleep Is this a reoccurring theme? maybe, all well, this is a Dad Blog after all.

Our Current Situation

Last night our toddler decided to wake up at around midnight, to a non parent this might seem funny, to another parent this may seem like a common occurrence and something we should be used to. Either one would be fine, if he had decided to go back to sleep before 5am.

note, I need to be honest here, it wasn’t actually last night this happened, it was earlier in the week, but yesterday I was too tired to write something that at least made sense.

sleep regression effects

If this was the only ‘refusing to sleep’ event that had occurred recently I would put it down to a bad night, unfortunately its not.

As a shift worker I am not home most evenings when its time for our little guy to go to sleep, so the ‘falling asleep’ routine has fallen upon my wife. She is fine with this (as far as I know), what does get to her is when a routine that used to take all of about 10-15 minutes to complete, lately has been taking up to 2 hours. Yes, that’s 2 hours of comforting, watching, settling, before he falls asleep.

As you can imagine this tends to have an impact on our sanity. It does help to know we are not alone though. Baby Sleep Site has written a good article on the topic here. However as parents know, every child is different and it doesn’t matter how many articles you read or strategies you research, sometimes you just have to wait it out.

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Shopping for Kids Toys – With Kids

kids ride

Shopping for kids toys has got to be one of more fun jobs that comes with raising children, albeit an expensive one.

The Down Under family has just returned from an after daycare / after work, impromptu  shopping trip. The occasion? The Annual Big W toy sale. You can read about previous shopping trips with kids here – Shopping with Kids.

note this isn’t an ad, just a rundown of our afternoon.

As we discovered this time last year when our toddler was about to turn 1, Big W has an annual toy sale during which not only are a lot of their toys on special (duh), but they offer extended lay-by services until Christmas. Unfortunately last year we had already bought his presents for his birthday, but were able to get our Christmas shopping started.

This year we knew it was coming, in fact it started at midnight last night. While we were planning on leaving it until the weekend, reports from friends told us “all the good toys are selling out”, so this afternoon we ventured out.

As I mentioned before this was an after daycare trip, which meant our toddler was already tired, was that a risk we were willing to take? absolutely! Did he play up while we were there? it could have been worse.

shopping with kids

Above photo was taken during a pit-stop, here I am trying to get a laugh out by sitting in the tiny car next to him, as you can see he is not impressed.

The thing about these toy sales is you generally know what you want to buy before you go in – we had a catalogue circled ready to go. If you have been following for awhile you already know my thoughts on Kids Toys. The other thing about these toy sales is the toys aren’t just confined to the toy section of the shop, they are everywhere. What does this mean?

Firstly is it takes a lot longer then you would expect to find what you are looking for. You want cars? better check the book section, looking for Lego? check the home-wares, Dinosaurs? clothing. I could go on but you get the idea.

Secondly is that you have no idea if something has sold out, or if you just haven’t found it yet. Sure you could ask someone, but then they have to go check. Got a few things you can’t find? you are going to be asking a lot. If someone from Big W happens to be reading this, next year make a map. Seriously it wouldn’t be hard, and would make shoppers lives a lot easier, in fact give me early access to get exactly what I want without the crowds and I’ll even make one for you.

Now I won’t go into detail around how many times we walked around the store, or how long we waited in line for lay-by. But if you happened to be there, our child was the one riding around on the trike getting in everyone’s way.

I’m also not going to spoil the surprise of what we bought. If you keep following his 2nd birthday is only weeks away so you will see then what he gets, Christmas is also closer then you think so you will see those too.

If your after a clue, checkout my post – Vocabulary of an Almost 2 year old, it lists a few of his favorite words which match some of his favorite things.

After a couple of hours shopping, an early dinner out as well. Sometimes its the simple things that put a smile on your child’s face.

kids ride

 

When 3 become 4. . .

baby coming soon

I could start this off with some cryptic math related sentence as a bit of a red herring, but given this is a parent related blog, most of you have already guessed what I’m about to say.

We’re Expecting!

That’s Right! We are Happy to Announce we are going to be welcoming another member to our little family.

Down Under Bub #2 is joining the family sometime in October.

Here’s a little sneak peak

Baby

As you can see the baby looks just like its Dad, Just kidding, I hate when people say they can see who the babies look like from a scan at 20 weeks. It looks like a Baby, a happy healthy baby.

Now for a bit of fun,

Can you guess what we are having?

Stop! don’t scroll any further

We are working on a honesty system here.

I want you to guess what we are having,

you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right.

Chosen your answer?

.

.

.

its a girl

Get it right? Well done!

Get it wrong? really? you had a 50/50 chance. . .

Cue all the quotes “now you have one of each”, “you can stop now” etc etc.

We are so excited to share this news.

and yes, you will be hearing a lot about this on my blog moving forward.

baby coming soon

 

Hit for 6 and Out!

6 and out

There is no better Aussie past time then Backyard Cricket. While every yard is different and everyone skill set varies, the rules always remain the same. Hit the ball, run back and forth, get caught on the full or between the stumps and your out. But there is also 1 more rule, the 6 and out. Hit that amazing shot that clears the fence, breaks a window, goes into the river, or anywhere else generally out of bounds, and its a 6, and out.

Is this a post about cricket? not exactly. After a great long weekend away with the family last week, and a relatively easy start to the week for work, Down Under Dad was struck out!

6 and out

That’s right! The Down Under household had been hit with the flu. While we aren’t under strict quarantine yet it has already spread from one family member to another with the 3rd on high alert to try and avoid getting sick.

Last week our little guy paid a visit to the doctor as he wasn’t well. Now I am going to start this off by saying he used to hate going in for a Dr visit. While he would be OK in the waiting room, as soon as we were called into the exam room, a tantrum in one form or another would reel its head.

This time I am happy to say was quite the opposite. While there was a small cry, by the end of the exam there was ‘high fives’ and ‘fist bumps’ all around. Sure this was helped along by the offering of a free balloon by the DR which Dad continually inflated and let go, and the stamp on the hand for being a good boy (although this almost caused a tantrum as well). But as with most parenting moments, the best advice is often to do whatever works.

Turns out our instincts were right and he needed a dose of antibiotics to get back to his usual healthy happy self. If its one thing you learn as a parent, its to trust your instincts. Despite what anyone else around you says, and sorry Dad’s in this situation often Mum knows best. If you think your child’s health warrants a trip to the GP, then take them. Remember they often don’t know they are sick and even more often can’t tell you.

man flu

This week the illness my son got, had mutated not only into the fabled Man Flu, but all the way into the Dreaded DAD FLU!

How is the Dad flu different to the Man flu? well how do you normally cope with the flu? Do you wrap yourself in blankets, lie on the couch, and watch reruns of your favorite TV Show?  well that sounds like a great coping mechanism, but as a Dad its not that simple.

Parenting doesn’t switch off just because you are sick.

I am going to take this opportunity to call out the amazing job Mrs Down Under is doing at supporting me while I am sick. She is constantly going out of her way to take as much of my part of the parenting load off me so I can recover. I also know she reads this blog so Thanks Again!

So is it time I stopped relying on my age and health to push me through the winter season without getting sick? Should I be getting the yearly ‘flu shot’? Hard to say. But given Dad’s can be stubborn and I (hopefully) won’t get sick again this year once this passes. Who knows what next year will bring.

Got any hints or tips for beating the Flu? or how to avoid it all together? I’d love to hear them

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Long Weekend Family Roadtrip

family roadtrip

Long weekends are great for spending time with your family. Whether its a project in the yard, an outing to the park, or a quick trip away, Public Holidays are the perfect opportunity to catch up on family time.

For the Down Under Family, this long weekend meant a quick trip away. Friends of ours were celebrating their child’s 3rd Birthday so we used the time to make the 5 hour drive down to join them.

Although it was a long weekend, my work meant the public holiday wasn’t a day off so we made the plans to drive down one day and home the next. With a toddler in the car whose longest car trip previously had been 2 and a half hours.

family roadtrip

The Plan

Down Under Dad had to work the Friday night before the weekend so the plan was to leave early Saturday morning. This would also avoid the dreaded ‘long weekend traffic’ – a dreaded situation that no one likes to be stuck in, that only seems to occur around public and school holidays. Generally due to the fact everyone likes to use the long weekend to take a short trip.

Even though we were only going for 1 night, it is amazing how much we needed to pack. A bag for Mum and Dad, a bag for the little guy, and a bag for the car because no one wants to be on the side of the highway going through the boot looking for nappies. We also took a chilled bag with drinks and snacks for everyone, and some toys in case we needed distractions over the course of the trip.

The route we were taking was never going to be an issue. It is a fairly straightforward drive with highway 90% of the way. The remaining 5% could and has been a major traffic jam in the past. This could easily add another half an hour to the trip.

Once at our destination we would stay the night and make the return trip the following afternoon.

Sound like a pretty clear cut plan that’s bound to succeed? As any parent would know even the best laid plans are never stuck to 100%.

The Drive

So after not sleeping much on Thursday night, our 2 year old decided Friday night would be a good night to catch up. Good for Mum as she needed a good rest, Good for Dad as he had a long drive ahead. Bad for the plan – before we even left. Our planned early departure time of between 7 and 8 turned into just after 10.

The first stage of our trip went relatively smoothly albeit a bit wet. While there was no traffic, Mother Nature decided the rain that had been hammering us for a few days should continue for our trip.

After a quick pit-stop for fuel about 1.5 hours into our trip, we were back on the road for the longest part of the drive. Thankfully at this stage our toddler decided it was time for a nap which meant we no longer had to listen to his playlist but could enjoy our own.

A further 2.5 hours into our trip and it was time to stretch our legs and have some lunch. A widely known fast food restaurant on the side of the freeway worked out well, even if every other family on a long weekend road trip had the same idea. With Lunch in our bellies and our toddler having exhausted some of his energy we were back on the road, probably a longer break then we had planned.

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A quick check of Google Maps told us we only had another 1.5 hours to go! Great that means we are on the home stretch.

One thing about the trip is the weather did improve as we got further along, while it does make for easier driving, a break in the rain back home would be nice too.

Another hour in and our youngest decided it was time for another break. Thankfully along the highway there was plenty of places to get out of the car and stretch the legs. Our rest area actually came with a view as you can see, according to the map it is Lake George, although one may think their GPS was off track.

lake george

One thing about living in Australia and travelling south is that it gets colder, especially in winter. Having left our jumpers in the car the rest was short and we continued on.

Not long after we arrived safely and relatively sane.

The Return Trip

The following days journey went without issue, for the most part. Our breaks were fewer and shorter which meant total travel time was reduced by almost an hour.

While the weather had improved on our way down, it was the opposite on the way home.

Our son had napped for what seemed like a short time on the way down, was almost non-existent on the way home. While he wasn’t necessarily upset, his mood was maintained by his favorite tunes on repeat, this and the rest of the family singing along. Put it this way if we didn’t know the words on the way down, we learnt them on the way home.

The Learnings

Note, some of the items on the following list we may have already known, but they are wise tips none the less.

  • Snacks – not just for your kids but yourself as well. Do yourself a favor and pack a variety, because if your toddler is anything like mine then they like to have a choice.
  • Packing the Car – If you won’t need it on the road, put it in the boot, the more space you have inside the cab the better. However, make sure you have a small bag handy with what you might need on the road, snacks, drinks, nappies, jumpers etc.
  • Be realistic about your time frame – don’t rush it, if you have deadlines then leave plenty of time despite what Google Maps tells you. What should have been a 4.5 hour trip down, was closer to 6 once breaks were included.
  • Make a Plan, but don’t expect to stick to it.

Maybe next time this guy can do the driving. . .

baby driver

 

Vocabulary of an almost 2 Year Old

Learning to speak another language isn’t easy, it requires time, patience, and commitment. Everyone has a different opinion on how long it takes based on how fluent you wish to become in the language and your environment. Below you will find the complete Vocabulary of an almost 2 year old. One thing is for sure, it takes a lot longer to learn your first language.

For those who haven’t been following along, I currently have 1 child who turns 2 in just under 2 months. Every day it seems his vocabulary is expanding. So far he hasn’t learnt to say any words he shouldn’t, So far. He at the stage where the words he picks up are random and he may have only heard them once or twice.

 

Words he has Mastered

Mum – An easy one, and often a first word for many children. It has also expanded to many other derivatives such as, Mummy, Mumma, Mom.

Dad – Another easy one, often comes hand in hand with the last one. Also expanded to include Daddy and Dada

Car – If you have a favorite object then there is a good chance you are going to learn how to say it so your family knows what you want. Our son is obsessed with cars, or anything with wheels

Nanna – multiple syllable words that repeat the same sounds are easy for a toddler to learn. They also enjoy saying them with varying levels of tone. NANA when he sees her. Nana? if she is on the phone. Nana Car! when she pulls up out the front.

Pop – for a simple word this one did take awhile to learn. It was his first word with a P in it though.

Tea – Not the meal, but the warm beverage. Also, coffee is seen as tea to him. Both commonly found in our household.

Ball – If you are playing outside, it doesn’t matter where you are a Ball can turn it into a game. Along with this we have started learning to kick a ball around too.

Move – When something or someone is in your way, you either move it yourself, or ask them to move. We must use this term a lot in our home as he as picked it up pretty clearly.

Stuck – What happens when something doesn’t move or you can’t move it yourself? Its Stuck! We used to use this word in conversations with our toddler about his playing. “is the ball stuck?” Now he uses it to announce to the family when he is having difficulty moving something.

Shoes – We all wear shoes, we all have different kinds of shoes. If our son wants his shoes on then he will find them and bring them to us. If we say the word ‘shoe’ in conversation, he will proceed to bring us various pairs of shoes until we put one on.

Uggboot – Everyone has their favorite pair of shoes, including Uggboots. Not being allowed to wear the Uggboots outside though has been the cause of multiple tantrums.

vocabulary of an almost 2 year old

 

Words he is struggling with

Eddie – EeeEee. Our beloved dog’s name, this was always going to be a word he learnt early on as he often hears us say it.

Truck – Tuck. When you love cars so much, the next evolution of this is always going to be bigger cars or Trucks! He loves watching them, the weekly garbage truck is like a celebrity to him. Just need to master the R.

Bowl – Booowwl. 9 times out of 10, a bowl means breakfast. If we are in the kitchen, then he feels the need to point out the bowls, just with a bit of emphasis on the oooowl.

Bottle – Bot Bot. Not sure if this is his nickname for a bottle or just can’t grasp it. Either way if its time and you mention that word, you better have one on the way.

Lunch Box – Ln Box. When we go to daycare we need to make sure we pack our lunch. Once its packed we better make sure we don’t leave it behind.

Pool – Apool. You can read all about our adventures with swimming lessons here. Where else do you go for swimming lessons but the pool of course. Not sure if he can’t pronounce it or he just gets too excited to speak clearly..

Moana – Ana. Everyone has a favorite movie to watch. Our Son is obsessed with Disney’s ‘Moana’, more specifically the songs. Whether its for some quiet time on the lounge or to get up and dance to, this movie never fails to entertain.

Shower – Hower. Fun fact, our house doesn’t have a bath, which means our son has gotten used to showering everyday rather then baths. He really enjoys this daily routine, so much he can almost pronounce it clearly, or at least enough so we know what he means.

Grandma – nndma. I know someone who is eagerly awaiting him mastering this word. Its not that he doesn’t know who she is, but can’t quite get the word out.

Banana – naaana. One of his favorite fruits. 3 syllable words aren’t part of his skill set yet.

What comes next

Sentences of course!

While he often starts up very interesting conversations with either himself or other family members, he can’t quite string clear words together yet. However if he is trying to talk to you, you better respond as if you know exactly what he means otherwise he won’t be too impressed.

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Top 3 Proud Parenting Moments of the Week 27/5/18

TOP 3

Another week draws to a close which means its time for another Top 3 moments of the week. Last week we highlighted the Top 3 Tantrums, this week we have something different for you.

Down Under Dad’s

Top 3 Parenting Moments of the Week

As a parent you will often experience moments where your child does something you are really proud of, whether its playing nicely with other kids, cleaning up after themselves, or finally saying that word you have been trying to teach them.

So in no particular order, here are the Top 3 from this week;

1. Helping with the Laundry

Once you become a parent the amount of dirty laundry you have increases dramatically. It starts off with dedicated loads for baby clothes, but even older kids go through more clothes then you think.

While doing the washing earlier this week, I let my wife know and my son overheard. He then proceeded to collect the dirty clothes (well most of them were dirty), and take them into the laundry, put them in the machine, shut the door, and push the start button. Sure I couldn’t leave him to do it all by himself, but its definitely a step in the right direction.

proud parenting laundry

2. Putting away his toys by himself, in the correct location

While toys are a great way to keep your child entertained, they can also be a thorn in any parent’s side. No matter how many times you put them away, they will always find a way back out. You will also spend many days finding different ways to store them that stops them taking over your house.

This week we achieved something we have been aiming for a very long time. We asked our child to put his toys away. Without argument he simply picked them up and carried them into his toy room. Once there he not only proceeded to put them back in their designated homes, but he got them all right! even if it meant trying multiple angles before succeeding. Keeping the house tidy is about to become so much easier.

3. Sleeping through the night in his big boy bed

Sleeping arrangements for children has always been a heavily debated topic. What cot/bed to use? When to transition? Do you co-sleep? While Ill save that discussion for another day, each to their own, my advice is simply do what works for you.

We bought our son a big boy bed (and yes, that is a race car bed) a few months ago now as he was starting to grow out of his cot. Since then he has been having his daily naps in the bed, but still sleeping overnight has always been in his cot, until now. This week we attempted to sleep all night in our big bed, and succeeded!

proud parenting bedtime

Every day as a parent you witness moments that make you smile. You can be having a rough day when your child does something that makes you realise you are actually doing a better job of this parenting gig then you give yourself credit. Make the most of these moments.

What were your Proud parenting moments this week? Share with me below! Same place Same time next week for another Top 3 moments of the week

 

Previous Top 3

Top 3 Tantrums of the Week 20/5/18

TOP 3

Newcastle’s ‘Blackbutt Reserve’ Review – A Family Outing

blackbutt reserve

A Beautiful Day

Today was an unseasonably warm day with perfect weather, the perfect opportunity for an outdoors adventure. Following my own advice from Go To Tricks For Entertaining Kids, we decided to head outdoors, beyond the limits of our backyard. Living in the city generally means we need to travel a little bit further to enjoy nature, this is the one exception.

What better way to enjoy the beautiful day and spend time as a family then to go wandering through the bush and exploring the different wildlife that live in our country. To make the day even better some of my wider family joined us as well!

Today’s destination – Blackbutt Reserve!

Disclaimer, while this might read like a paid review, that couldn’t be further from the truth. My family enjoyed a great day out here and I am simply letting you as the reader know what an amazing place we found it to be.

Black What Reserve?

So what is Blackbutt Reserve? if your a local reader then feel free to skip onto the next section (unless you feel like possibly learning something). For the wider audience I’ll elaborate.

blackbutt reserve

Blackbutt Reserve is a nature reservation a short 15-minute drive from the centre of Newcastle. It is situated on over 182 hectares of bushland, including a dedicated area with wildlife exhibits. They are setup in such a way that allow visitors (free of charge) to watch the animals in their native habitat and learn more about them. What better way to learn more about the animals then attending one of the scheduled animal feeding sessions on throughout the day.

Of the 93 things listed on TripAdvisor to do in Newcastle, it is ranked 4th, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5.

Aside from the wildlife, Blackbutt is also a great location for other outdoor recreational activities. The reserve boasts 10 kilometers of tracks that will suit a range of fitness levels.

Or for those looking for something a bit quieter, there is ample BBQ and picnic facilities with a sizable kids playground as well

Combine all this together and you have the making of a wonderful family outing. Which is exactly what we did today.

Our Adventure

We started our visit by heading straight to one of the many picnic tables. We brought our lunch with us (see my advice section later on) as it was already the afternoon and none of us had eaten yet (rookie error). While sitting down eating we took turns enjoying the open area to kick a ball around with the little guy.

ball kicking

Once lunch was finished it was time to check out the wildlife. The reserve has a set walking path through the various enclosures allowing you to see (almost!) all the animals in one go.

Blackbutt koalas

On our way we got to see a couple of Wombats snacking away, and various species of birds. One of the more popular enclosures would have been the Koalas. You could get pretty close to them, even if the majority of them were passed out.

Blackbutt Lizards

As we moved further through the reserve we were led through a couple of darkened enclosures highlighting the various nocturnal animals native to the area. Hot Tip! if you are taking younger kids through here, it can be hard to point out the smaller animals in the exhibits, try and bring them before they get too tired and their patience wears out.

After completing our adventure through the first section, we wondered why we had purchased ’emu food’ ($2) when we hadn’t seen any. We then realised that on the other side of the clearing was another large enclosure, highlighting the larger animals. This is where our little guy really became interested.

Emus

He was fascinated. That is until Grandma almost lost a finger feeding the Emus, then he wanted to move on pretty quickly. Whether it was the Emus or Grandmas reaction that spooked him is still up for debate.

By this stage our man was getting very tired, to the point where he refused to walk by himself and didn’t want anyone holding him except mum. That is until he saw the wallabies.

blackbutt wallaby

Honestly I think he would have stayed their all afternoon if we were with him. He wasn’t just staring at them, he was waving and saying hello!

By the time we got back to our cars the entire family was a bit worn out. The little guy because he didn’t have his usual nap before we went. The rest of us because I think we underestimated how much walking would be involved (see advice later on for shoes).

Suffice to say it was definitely worth heading out for

tired child

 

Advice for Families

As parents you may think you can prepare for every situation, but can you ensure you make the most of every adventure. Here’s a quick list if you plan on visiting Blackbutt, or any similar location

  • Choose your Time of Day Carefully – Some will say go earlier in the day to try and beat the crowds. With the reserve being open all day, you can miss the crowds by going later on too. I would also work this around your kids. If they are still young, work it around nap time etc.
  • Pack Well – The car park is only a short walk from the main recreational area so don’t be afraid to over pack. Bringing your own lunch is a good idea with onsite food options very limited. BBQ’s are an option but this place does get busy. Don’t forget to pack your esky with drinks for the family too.
  • Dress Appropriately – Sure some parts are in the sun, others are well shaded, so if its a cooler day don’t underestimate the temperature dropping. Also I wouldn’t attend without wearing good footwear. If you want to experience the wildlife you will need to do some walking, and its not flat.
  • Respect the environment – this should be a given. It is rare to find such a large reserve of bushland so close to the city. The only way it will last is if its looked after. Don’t litter, look after the facilities, and follow the advice listed for feeding the wildlife.

blackbutt reserve

 

As I said earlier, the Down Under Family had a great afternoon at Blackbutt. I would highly recommend it to any families, as well as those who have never experienced the wildlife of our country. I know we are already planning our next visit.

Links

Blackbutt Reserve Website

http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Blackbutt-Reserve/Home

Blackbutt Reserve on TripAdvisor

https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g255325-d953695-Reviews-Blackbutt_Reserve-Newcastle_Greater_Newcastle_New_South_Wales.html

Visit Newcastle – Blackbutt Reserve

https://www.visitnewcastle.com.au/blackbutt-reserve

Go To Tricks For Entertaining Kids

kids entertained

Kids will use up all of your energy as a parent, not just physically but mentally as well. No matter how much attention you give them it is never enough. At least until they are teenagers, then they don’t want any (or so I’m told, tell you what, if this blog is still going in another 10 years or so I’ll let you know).

You can spend all day with your child playing game after game, but as soon as you try to put your feet up, they will come running.

The exception to this is nap time (for toddlers anyway). I won’t go into too much detail here as it’s a well known urban legend amoung parents that if you say the word nap too many times your child will refuse to sleep that day. Try it out if you dare.

down under dad

So how can you keep your day entertaining for you and your children? Try out the following

Common Ways to

keep your Children Entertained

  • Play some games – Simple peekaboo games, like hiding around the corner from each other will always get a laugh from a toddler, as they grow up you can change this to a hide and seek style game.
  • Play with their toys – If you are trying to get them to play with their own toys, why not play with them, show them how fun they can be. Chances are you have spent some decent money of the toys so you may as well make the most of them. Try rolling cars along with them, or building their wooden train set. They are more likely to go back to the toys later if they have enjoyed the time spent playing with them.
  • Go Outside – If your kids are anything like mine then they love being outside, sure they don’t understand that in winter they need to wear extra clothes, or in summer they need sunscreen, but they love being outdoors. Have a backyard? Great! maintain it and acquire some outdoor play equipment. Don’t have that luxury? find a nearby park.
  • Get Active with them – Not only will this clear your head but it helps to build healthy habits. Sure this is easier as they get older, but if your child is young enough to be in a pram, then take them for a walk/run. Go kick a ball around a park. Go for a bike ride. The good thing about them being active is that it will tire them out, and all parents know a tired child sleeps better then one full of energy.

kids entertained

So what happens when normal just doesn’t cut it anymore. Parents are often guilty as believing they know best. More specifically, parents whose kids are older always think they know better then those with younger kids, they call it experience.

In my almost 2 years of experience being a parent I have learnt a few tricks. Now I know this parenting gig ain’t always easy, so I’m more then happy to share them. Some might be surprising, others more obvious.

So here it is. . .

Down Under Dad’s

Trick-book for entertaining Toddlers

Disclaimer, these tricks were current at the time of writing. It doesn’t take a genius to tell you they won’t last forever. By the time you read this they might already be outdated. I also can’t be held liable if they don’t work for you. Every child is different.

  • The Wiggles – This one might be a bit outdated, but for the first 12 months of so of our child’s life he was obsessed. Whether it was books, movies, songs, or even merchandise, he would always have a smile on his face. You can imagine the look on his face when he saw them live in concert.
  • Watermelon – Yes I know its a food. If he is playing up or not eating much, Watermelon is the key! He loves it, and by just saying the name, he will instantly stop what he is doing and go to the kitchen.
  • Outside – Our son would spend all day outside if we let him. While not necessarily a bad thing, it can be tough when the weather doesn’t cooperate. However 9 times out of 10 if he is getting stir crazy inside, taking him outside will solve the problem (at least temporarily).
  • Disney Movies – At the moment its 2 in particular. ‘Moana’ and ‘Cars 3’ – both available on Netflix (thank god). The first one is played at least once daily in our house, and yes I can recite the words to most of the songs. The second was an obvious one for us. Our child is obsessed with Cars as objects, so it didn’t take much to put 2 and 2 together and show him the movies.
  • Trucks! – so this last one is related to the previous (cars and trucks both have wheels?). Its also one of those ones that almost makes you feel a little guilty as a parent. You can see the road from the front room of our house, which the occasional truck drives along. Our son loves watching these trucks, doesn’t matter what he is in the middle of, if he thinks he has heard a truck out the front then he will go to try and watch it.

 

As a reader you are probably having 1 of 2 different reactions to the above

  1. There is no way that would work with my kids – I say “fair enough”, I’ve made this list based upon my 2 year old so if your kids are of a different age they might not be effective. I also say “Have you tried?”, if you are currently raising toddlers then I encourage you to try something off my list, any change in routine can be for the better.
  2. Wow you couldn’t be anymore true – I say “thanks, but i’m only showing you what works”. A big part of parenting is trial and error, sometimes you have to try multiple options before you find one that works, and even then it won’t work forever.

 

Ultimately its up to you as a parent to find the best way to keep your kids entertained, but if you can do it successfully, the eventual outcome will look something like the below

tired child

 

What works for you? How do you keep your children entertained? Got a hot tip to add to my list? I’d love to hear it. If I get enough Ill publish a reader submitted edition.

Top 3 Tantrums of the Week 20/5/18

TOP 3

Its the End of the week which means its time for another Top 3 Moments of the week gone by. This week has been what parents would know as a ‘long’ week so to finish it off, in no particular order, here are the Top 3 Tantrums from this week.

We only just arrived, I don’t want to leave yet

After a 2 and a half hour car ride I wouldn’t want to hop straight back in the car either, thankfully that’s not what we were doing.

We had arrived at a park for a friends birthday and wandered over to where they had set up. Once we placed our things down we all needed a toilet trip and someone needed a nappy change, unfortunately the toilets were in a similar direction to the car. By similar I mean away from where we were.

The standout was when our child decided

to hop off his little ride on car and proceed to flip it over in outrage.

I know the sun is up but I still want the light on

The unfortunate nature of toddler sleeping patterns is that they are forever changing. The unfortunate nature of living in Australia means twice a year we change our clocks by 1 hour. As an adult this doesn’t mean much, as a toddler when you wake up at a similar time most days, that time has now changed.

How does this relate to our tantrum? well when our child decided to wake us up this morning it was still dark enough to put the light on. As the morning passed the light was then turned off.

How Dare We! In response our toddler stood in front of the light switch pointing at it, demanding it be turned back on. Trying to save money on our power bill we tried not to give in. I say tried, because sometimes the easiest way to avoid another tantrum is to give in.

No I will not let you try and wipe the chocolate off my forehead

Now I’ll start this off by saying we don’t consume a lot of sugar in our household, and neither does our child. However the occasional chocolate biscuit is enjoyed, and our child is never far away.

Anyone who knows chocolate, knows it can melt quickly and become sticky. Anyone who knows toddlers, knows they can make a mess out of just about anything. The other thing about toddlers is they generally don’t like being cleaned up. Mix the 3 together and you get chocolate on your child’s face.

The unfortunate thing about chocolate is it looks a lot like your child has dirt all over their face (parent of the year). Depending on the location and severity it can also look like a bad scratch. Both of these were the first things I asked when my wife showed me the picture.

 

Just to clarify, by no means are these the only tantrums that occurred this week. I would be writing all night if I listed them all, but after careful deliberation between my wife and I, these were the best. To narrow it down we used the criteria that they needed to be a classic toddler tantrum, that is, they needed to be for a ridiculous excuse that no amount of reasoning would have helped the situation.

Enjoyed this list? Got some stories of your own to share? Tune in this time next week for another Top 3

TOP 3