Are you remembering the new baby phase and wondering how in the world you’re going to manage it with a toddler? It’s hard. The good news is that often baby #2 is accompanied with less anxiety than your first, and they sleep a lot during the day. Of course that doesn’t mean you’ll be any less tired. I have very vivid memories of lying face down on my couch and playing with my toddler on the floor with my one free arm. I would take quick naps on the couch while my toddler watched TV. My trick was to put her between my legs, so that I’d know if she moved. I also have fond memories of her snuggling next to me while I fed the baby. We’d read books or she’d help tickle the baby’s feet to keep her awake while nursing. The truth is, that while you may see a lot of pictures of moms with a baby in a carrier running around outside with their big kid, the rest of the time they’re on the couch. So here are my tips for keeping your toddler active and engaged while you stay in one spot.
My kids have always loved pretend play and it’s such a great way for the two of you to connect. Let your older babe set up a tea party for you or scamper across the room to prepare you something in their play kitchen. Your legs can become ramps for their little cars. Talk about feelings and make all the faces that go along with them. Seriously, is there anything better than a kid’s “scary” face.
Classic toys are often classic for a reason. You can’t go wrong with a ball or some blocks. The truth is that no matter how I tried, my kids were never really interested in building toys. However, they loved smashing the towers once they were built, so that’s what we did. I built blocks and they smashed them. All kids need a little rebellion and this worked great.
You’ll see some more of my suggestions below, but please know that screen time is also a great option. I tried to pick shows that were interactive in some way like ones where kids can sing along or respond to questions the characters are asking.
These wooden blocks are perfect for staking up and knocking down. I also love that because of the way they're painted, you can sort them by color or by image. You could even ask your kid to find an animal that makes a certain sound. They're also non-toxic for when the baby gets a little older and tries teething with them.
Oaktown Supply Wooden Baby Blocks
A Classic for A Reason
Masks are just like costumes, but with less cleanup and resulting constant outfit changes. Also, there may be nothing better in the world than kids making animal sounds. Which one will be your kid's favorite? Which is your favorite?
Farm Animal Masks - 8 Felt Masks
Moo! Cluck! Oink!
This play kitchen will keep your kid cooking and doing laundry all day. Just imagine sitting on the couch while your 3 year old whips you up a random pile of wooden food. Oh, the oohs and mmms you make.
KidKraft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen Set - White
A Play Kitchen to Match Your Decor
It's time to play with balls in the house. These ones are easy for kids to grip. You can roll them back and forth, but my favorite was always to toss it across the room and have my mobile kid run and get it.
Fun Z Balls - 3 Pack Of Fun Sensory Balls
These books are a lifesaver for all ages. They use a brush that's filled with water to reveal each colorful picture. There are often hidden elements in there too. Then you let them dry and do it all over again. The size makes it perfect for couch snuggles or car rides.
Melissa & Doug Water Wow Bundle: Farm, Safari & Under The Sea
Color with Water!
Listen, sometimes you just need to sit back and watched them jump. You can time them to see how long they can do it for, count their jumps, or just close your eyes and pretend the rhythm is waves splashing against the shore on a tropical island.
Little Tikes 3 Foot Trampoline
Let's See How Long You Can Jump For!