Entertaining yourself around a toddler

As much as you love being around Baby – talking to them, kissing them, watching as they explore their new world – there’s no denying that Baby is still pretty young, and the two of you might not have too many shared points of interest yet. Parts of your days with them are hectic and exciting, but there are still times in the day that can be more dull – Baby can’t exactly hold a complex conversation, for starters.

If you find yourself looking for ways to stay occupied while keeping Baby engaged, here are some things that could help spice up your time together.

Do: Your own thing, and let Baby join if they want

No matter who or where they are, there’s one thing all new parents have in common: they have a lot to do. And there’s no reason why you can’t get some of that stuff done while Baby is around. Laundry, bills, cooking, and cleaning can all get done while you and Baby are together. If they want, they can “help” in their own toddler way.

Don’t: Immediately use electronics as a distraction

Now is as good a chance as any to give Baby the chance to learn how to entertain themself. There are tons of good iPad games and educational programs for Baby to consume, but if they learn to keep themself amused without one of your gadgets, you could be cutting down on a few games of tug-of-war with Baby in the future, so try using electronics as a last resort.

Do: Read, write, and, pursue crafts and hobbies

You might be feeling the deep craving for an uninterrupted session with a new book or TV show, and it’s okay to use some of your time with Baby to get a mental break and do things that you enjoy. While you do this, Baby can start learning how to entertain themself. Knowing how to keep themself busy will help Baby become more confident about being alone. They shouldn’t spend every waking minute responding to you – they need a little space sometimes, too – so set Baby near you, surrounded by toys that they like, and get cracking on that new bestseller.

Don’t: Feel like you can’t tell people you’re doing things that aren’t related to Baby

People who haven’t had kids might automatically assume that you’re lovingly gazing into Baby’s eyes all day, every day. People who have had kids will know better.

Do: Use this as a time to look at things from a new perspective 

You’ve noticed that Baby is fascinated by just about everything. Obviously you’re a little jaded by life, since you’ve seen it all before. But why not use this as an opportunity to notice things you might have overlooked before? Cool-looking bugs, really perfect bites out of an apple, and stray sunbeams are all things that might go unnoticed by you during your day-to-day life, so making the most of this new time in your life might mean taking a moment to stop and smell – or at least appreciate – the roses.

Don’t: Believe everything you hear

Your friend tells you he and his baby can barely spend a minute apart. Your mother says she never sat down for the first 4 years of your life. Why, then, should you be allowed to do what you want around Baby? Well, even if these statements were true, they probably aren’t relevant to your life with Baby. You’re allowed to pick and choose what anecdotes you apply to your style of parenting, so go ahead and be choosy with statements like these.
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