Whew! When I wrote this Jamesie was soundly sleeping after an eventful morning of Tumbles class and mothers group play dates. He has recently moved down to one nap a day, so our mornings are like a race to get out of the house and do something – it doesn’t really matter what we are doing, as long as we are out of the house. It’s only the end of August and I am dreading winter. Thank goodness Jamesie has a few more years before he starts school, because I do plan on migrating south a bit this winter with him. After a morning of fun and activity, I am in my happy place - sitting down in a comfy chair with a piping hot cup of freshly brewed tea and a lunch bowl of goodness. These moments are rare and far between, and don’t tend to last very long (Jamesie is bound to wake up soon) but I thoroughly enjoy these few moments of alone time.
Now that Jamesie is a budding toddler (ugh, I’m in denial) he really thrives from activity. Sometimes keeping your baby busy can be a challenge, especially when you are multitasking with cleaning the kitchen, getting the laundry done, making appointments, etc. etc. etc. Below I have listed a few things I have found to help me through this first year of motherhood, and now with an energetic one-year old entertained and worn out by naptime!
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Go to the Park
When the weather is nice, get out there and go! Even if your baby isn’t crawling, go put them in the swing for a little while. They will love it trust me, and watching the other kids play – that one never gets old for the playful little kid developing inside of them.
Go to the Library
I started bringing James to story time at a library nearby every other week when he was about 6 months old. You’d be amazed at how much a tiny little baby enjoys being read to, and again there is the entertainment of the older babies. As he has grown he has gotten even more interactive, and bonus I get to meet other mothers with babies his age.
Water is incredibly entertaining. The kiddy pool is endless fun and a great way to socialize, but if you don’t have a pool nearby get a plastic kiddy pool or just fill up a bucket with water and let that baby loose. Jamesie has loved water since birth, so I don’t know if all babies will be this way, but often in the afternoons when he needs some entertainment I let him play naked in the kiddy pool/plastic bath tub/ laundry room bucket (whatever is close at hand).
Sign up for a Class
Discovering JW Tumbles, which is similar to Gymboree, has been amazing for Jamesie’s development and socialization. The class is about 45-minutes long and is filled with age-appropriate activities and songs. In a nutshell it’s a safe place for your child to climb, explore, discover and make little baby friends (and for you to make mommy friends!).
Join a Mother’s Group
Play dates with tons of other babies and toddlers is hands down the best way to tire out your little one. It has also been really good for me. As a first time mom, and the first of my friends to have a child, having a mother’s group that I like has been an important find. It took some time, but I am beginning to meet people and connect with other mother’s through a group I have joined. So whether it be through your church or your town, or maybe you have to start your own group, do it – Mother’s groups are essential especially for a mother of one.
Getting fresh air is the best thing for these tiny humans. This is easy in the spring and summer when the weather is mostly nice, but no less important in the fall and winter. Go apple picking and walking in the fall. Even in the winter it is important to get outside for at least a short while. As much as I am dreading winter coming, I am still excited for snowy activities with my little one (and to let him try some hot cocoa of course). He loves being outdoors and seeing the world, and I am so happy to let him experience that.
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The truth is that anything you do can be entertaining for your baby. Going food shopping, washing the car, or heck doing the laundry – they are experiences that can be exciting for little ones. At the same time, I think it is important to do things that are all about them – things that focus on them and allow them to interact with other children their age. This is especially important for babies who don’t (yet) have siblings. After the morning that Jamesie and I had, he napped for 3 hours. That’s a win in my book.