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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
A friend recently asked me how I have time as a Dad to: Be a Parent, Work Full time, visit the Gym a couple of days a week, and still have the time to Blog. While there is no simple answer, my only advice is that if you commit to it you find a way to make it happen.
If you stop for a minute and break it down honestly, you will see you have more time then you would have thought. The below list was taken from my crossfit coach (slightly adapted),
There are 168 Hours in the Week
56 Hours of that should be sleep (8×7)
40 Hours of Work (8×5, average working week)
5 Hours commuting (1 hour a day)
10 hours Eating (just under 1.5 hours a day)
10 Hours Preparing (Cooking, Toilet/Shower, etc)
3 Hours Shopping (groceries and adhoc)
14 hours being Active (2 hours a day)
30 hours a week for Family time – on top of the above (5 hours a day)
But that doesn’t work for me?
While the Above is just a guide, it will look a little different for everyone. Work a longer week then that? that’s OK, have a longer commute? that’s OK too. The amount of time you need to allocate to weekly tasks may vary, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the time to do the things you are passionate about.
Make a Plan
Every day is different and we need to prioritise each day to make the most of it. You just need to make your list of priorities and make the time to get them done rather then sitting on the lounge.
Depending on whether or not you have all your ducks in a row, making a plan for the week might work, otherwise make a plan for each day. As a parent I know that even the best made plans can go haywire depending on (A) how well your child slept last night and (B) what side of the bed they woke up on. If you need to, adjust your plan on the run.
Do I spend 2 hours being active every day of the week? No. Do I work on my Blog every day of the week, I Try. Do I get 8 hours sleep every night? I don’t think I’ve had that since becoming a parent.
So when do I Blog?
Whenever I have free time! I’m not saying I write posts start to finish in one session each time. While that would be nice, it would also mean I get very little free time which if you look at the above isn’t true. Technology these days means I can blog just about anywhere from my smartphone. I record ideas as soon as I have them, I write when the creativity strikes, and I put the finishing touches on when I can sit and spend the time doing so.
The only way you can make time to do everything you want is to stop making excuses about why you didn’t do them.
It’s not always about having the time to do everything you want, Its about making the time. Don’t tell me “I don’t have the time”.
When kids come along your Life changes for the better, but some habits are hard to let go of. Pop Culture is a part of everyone’s lives and that includes your kids, but what’s relevant to you as a Dad and how often you can enjoy it will vary to that of before parenthood.
I read an article on a site I follow titled “Direct Advice for Dads” which is exactly what it sounds like. Their recent article 6 Ways your kid will ruin pop culture forever by AndrewPStreet was one I was really able to relate to. The article summarises 6 key points around just how Popular Culture streams change now you are a parent. Below ill list the same 6, with some helpful tips on how to reduce the impact.
1. You’ll never sit through a movie uninterrupted again
Blockbuster Movies these days just keep getting longer (2hrs 40mins for the latest Avengers movie), as parent with young kids you will find the chances of you having this amount of time unbroken is rare. This doesn’t mean you have to miss out, instead make sure you see these types of films when they are still at the cinema, a great idea for a monthly Date Night.
The other option as listed in the article is the volume turned down and subtitles on. Something my wife and I have started doing recently, and find it funny some of the lines you pick up on when you can read them rather then listen to them.
2. You have new nightmares now
Those Liam Neeson movies will become a whole lot more realistic when your child has wandered into the next aisle at the grocery shop. The Punisher’s children being murdered feels like justification for his vengeful actions.
These action movies might have seemed a bit far fetched before parenthood, and you may have thought you were over the nightmares you had as a kid, but all of a sudden you will feel an emotional connection to the characters in these movies.
3. Things get horribly visceral
While the Star Wars prequel movies have always been a hot topic of discussion between fans (i’ll save that for another day), The scene in Revenge of the Sith where Anakin slaughters the younglings may have made for a powerful scene in the movie will now have a different effect on you
Its scenes like that which when you first watched them would never have hit so close to home. Now your watching your favorite movies doesn’t seem like such a great idea.
4. Your kids have their own nightmares
If you think back to your childhood, nightmares often came from movies or shows with reoccurring characters, completely harmless and there for entertainment. The same goes for your kids, we are all guilty of watching the same movie over and over as it keeps our child quiet. Any character or scene that gets stuck in their head could easily turn into a nightmare for them.
No real way to avoid this one, sorry Dads. What were the focus of some of your nightmares? Clowns?
5. Styles have changed, Grandpa
Movie styles and camera shots have definitely changed. When I was young, movie scenes lasted a lot longer, individual shots could last over 10 seconds. These days camera shots are much shorter and the average scene would be close to half of what it used to be.
This change in pace makes for a very different experience. Kids don’t have the patience we do and a longer scene without much action is not going to engage them the same way it used to for you.
Every Dad has seen Star Wars, think back to A New Hope. What kid these days is going to watch 40 minutes of a couple of robots wandering the desert?
6. Speaking of evolving tastes
Our kids are always learning, and there is no way to limit that. They pickup things from the way we act and respond, their environment, and what they hear. How many times has your kid repeated something back to you that either you just said or they heard on a song.
Now look at your playlist, unless its already full of kids sons, how many of those songs feature lyrics about topics you probably don’t want your kid repeating. I suggest creating another playlist for when the kids are around, and enjoy your 90’s Hip Hop when they are not around.
Popular Culture covers many topics and comes in a wide range of media. These are all made for our entertainment, however not necessarily for our kids. How and if you choose to alter your habits is entirely up to you, but having a child sleep through the night without waking up to nightmares is lovely. Listening to your child repeat words from your old playlists probably isn’t.
56 – Instagram, Those who like to keep up to date daily (mostly) purely in image form.
37 – Individual comments on my posts. Why it may seem like something simple, these really mean a lot, its always nice knowing my posts have made a connection with you.
23 – Different countries that had people view my page. May seem like a lot but as you can see there is still a lot of white on the map. Share the word, lets get this colored in.
19 – Number of individual posts. If I’m honest this number could have been higher, I definitely had the time to. Being relatively new to blogging means my efficiency isn’t quite there yet. looking forward to growing that number. Watch this space.
So there you have it, a month in numbers. While this probably won’t be revisited every month, I look forward to doing it again down the track. I do need to thank stomperdad who gave me the idea to review where April led me.
For those who have engaged with my Blog so Far, Thank You! Its nice knowing you are out there. If you like what you have read or you know someone else who might, let them know! Tag, Share, Email, do whatever the cool kids are doing these days to spread the word.
Dog has always been referred to as Man’s Best Friend, but what about Dad’s Best Friend? A lot of the time when Families grow, relationships change. Dog doesn’t always understand that, how can you make sure everyone feels like part of the family?
If you haven’t already check out part 1 Dad’s Best Friend to get some background into our household and how it changed once kids came along.
Now that child and dog are the best of friends (most of the tine). We have started involving our son in everything to do with dog
Probably the easiest to teach but one that can go horribly wrong. While we can’t yet leave this one entirely to our son, he does make sure we don’t forget. Its become a routine now and if our son is left out he generally makes us feed the dog again.
We have only recently involved our son with this. He didn’t quite know what to make of it, and at the end he wanted to hop in the dog bath too.
Another one that was easy to teach was to brush our dog’s hair. This is handy as our dog malts a lot and we have floorboards (tumble weeds of dog hair anyone?) The only one to watch with this is that they don’t try to brush their own hair with the dog-brush.
Watching Clean Up
I can’t wait until we can pass this onto our son as his chore. Apparently a 2 year shouldn’t be left alone to clean up a dogs mess. They are quite happy to watch though. Just make sure they don’t try it when your not watching.
While these might seem like simply every day tasks that we as humans can do ourselves. It will take some work for your child to understand why we need to help our 4 legged friends out with them. Bonus is in the long run its one less thing for you to worry about.
If your kids came before your dog and they won’t stop asking for one. Maybe show them this list as a starting point for the responsibilities they are going to have.
We are all Different, Everybody is different, Every Family is different, Every Dad is different. How we do things is also different. How you manage a tricky parenting situation (out of control child at the shops anyone?) could be different to how another parent handles it.
This is a response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt
Dad’s are generally pretty honest about how much they know about parenting. Most of the time we haven’t read all the books, gone to all the classes, all listened to our other halves when they said “don’t forget to pack their. . .” When we are out and about as a family, this isn’t an issue. When Dad’s running solo with the children, things can spin out of control.
How do you handle the situation? How does another Dad handle the situation? Look around, Observe! what are other Dads doing. You can learn a lot from others just by observing their actions. Doing the groceries? can’t seem to settle your child? Look around, did that Dad just open a yogurt off the shelf to give to his child? okay that looks like it worked, give it a go!
Observation is a powerful tool. As a Dad don’t be afraid to borrow a few ideas off fellow Dads, you can guarantee everyone has been in the same situation before.