October 24, 2008,
A.B. asks from El Paso, TX on September 30, 2008
Entertainment/Games/Activities For Energetic 11-Month-Old Boy
I'm looking for suggestions on what I can DO with my 11-month-old little boy. He is so very, VERY active (he walks in circles around the living room if nothing else), and I just feel overwhelmed trying to keep him entertained. I realize I don't have to be interacting with him every minute of the day, but when he does want my attention, I'm at a loss for what to do with him.... He's not interested in sitting still to read a book (or even listen to me read one), he doesn't play with his toys for more than a few minutes (think three minutes) at a time, and he is constantly getting into things he's not supposed to--because the cereal boxes and my lotion bottles seem to interest him more than any toy. I do take him on walks and to the playground, but there are some days that I need to get things done--or I just don't want to get out....which is a whole other issue. Honestly, I find myself being bored and frustrated with him, and I HATE feeling that way! I want our time together to be fun--not a chore. Please help!
2 moms found this helpful
C.D. answers from Norfolk on October 01, 2008
When did we get to feel like we should be entertainment for and entertained by our kids? They are a job, sometimes it's a real chore to get out of bed and do it one more day. Take a break for yourself and leave him with his dad for a boys day once in a while, they have to bond too, and it's hard with a military life to find that time. That being said:
I had a cupboard in the kitchen full of tupperware and wooden spoons, all the rest were locked but that one was open and I have quite a few pictures of boys with bowls on their heads; I had to pick up tupperware a couple of times a day but it was worth it. I read at bedtime when they were sleepy, otherwise it was a frustrating exercise for all of us. Clean after he goes to bed. Get a baby gate and close off a room as a play area if you have the space, fill with stuff he likes, he'll be able to safely occupy himself while you're busy elsewhere; I was able to have a play room and it was a lifesaver since I was mostly alone with 5 kids. It's okay if he plays alone, he'll find you when he wants you (more boring for you since then the laundry is waiting with no excuses). As they got older they helped with chores more, and I did pop in videos when I needed them occupied and out from underfoot.
N.R. answers from Richmond on October 01, 2008
Oh My Gosh! Are you sure our boys are not related?! LOL! My 2yr old is just like yours! No joke! He does not play with any toys for more than a minute or two. He runs around like a wild man all day getting into EVERYTHING! Thank GOD for non-toxic cleaners and things because he climbs and gets into them. He LOVES water and will run into the bathroom when I'm not looking and play in the sink. He has even pulled his clothes off and got into the bath tub to take a bath. We hear the water and go running. Now this is with my two older sons here too. Unbelievable! I say that God has a plan for his life that will require LOTS of energy. LOL!
Now here is what I have found to work a little better for me. A daily schedule or routine. He learned really quick what came next each day. Our schedule was based on 30mins so we changed duties every 30mins. He has learned play time with me and with his brothers and alone in his bedroom. He too doesn't sit still for me to read to him but I do it anyway. I have also learned to put him to work with me. He is mommy's helper man. Is it more work for me in someways. But it's worth it to know where he is and what he is into. LOL! He helps take clothes out of the drier, sets the table for meals, throws trash away, etc. Art time is fun and easy for me. He sits in his highchair and does water paints on a coloringbook page, he plays PlayDough, he colors, etc. Our meals are base points, we have BF at 8-9am, snack around 11:30am, lunch at 1-2pm and nap time (thankfully) from 2-4pm and snack when he wakes up, then dinner around 6pm (whenever dad gets home) and bedtime is 9pm. It wasn't easy in the beginning but it sure has been great now days. Even though your son is only 11mths old, sounds like he can hang with you during the day pretty good. LOL!
Now, do you get out of the house much to be around other moms in your area? How about a MOPS group? He can play with 'friends' as we call it, while you get some much needed adult time with other moms.
You can always email me anytime. Being a SAHM is truly a tough job with the most rewards in the END. LOL!
And to you and your husband, we send a big THANK YOU from our family for his military service. We support him 110%!
N. :) SAHM homeschooling 3 boys 12, 7 & 2 yrs old and married to my Mr. Wonderful for almost 15yrs. I love to help moms, who want to become SAHMs, reach that goal. If you or someone you know would like more information please contact me anytime. Thanks!
S.C. answers from Washington DC on October 24, 2008
Get an older child to play with him. My neice and Nephew 8 and 11 tire out my 7 month old.
B.C. answers from Washington DC on October 01, 2008
All the suggestions you have received are great. I would add a couple of things. Look for some classes aimed at kids his age--your county recreation centers (usually very reasonably priced) should have programs. If he is walking, tumbling is EXCELLENT. I have a 2 3/4 year old girl and 15 month old boy and they both run themselves ragged and have very nice naps after tumbling. It also allows you to have brief conversations with other parents which helps a lot. Classes are also a way to focus your child and they may give you some ideas about things to entertain him with at home. Other classes for his age are either Music Together or Kindermusik, Baby yoga, swimming. It may sound like a short class won't help for the whole day, but I have found that it does. My daughter really sounds just like your son and it helped us both tremendously.
I would suggest getting out of the house every day. If you can combine getting out to do something that combines activity for your son and adult stimulation for you, that is the best thing. I take my kids to the zoo, museums, petting zoos, whatever. Since you are at home, going during the week's working hours makes the crowds a little less and gives your little one more freedom. I also just don't feel like going out or desperately need to do get something done in the house, but my days and weeks are so much better when I do get my kids out. They also nap better which makes my productivity better. I have also had to struggle with understanding that I just can't be as productive as I would like. Thankfully, I have an understanding husband.
The other thing that helped me this summer and that we will be continuing now after school in the fall is that I had a high school girl come over to entertain my kids while I got work done. It gave my kids a new person to play with and I got a TON of stuff done. The first couple of times were not as productive because my kids still knew I was in the house and wanted me, but once they understood the routine, it was great and they really didn't bother me much. The kids adore her. And she loved the extra money.
Also, don't worry about your feelings of boredom and frustration. We all have them. The thing that makes those moments worth it is when you witness your child learning a new skill or discovering a new ability. That is cool. Those are the moments I cling to when I feel like I want to pull my hair out because my two darlings won't even let me type an email out in one sitting...Hang in there.
B.B. answers from Washington DC on October 01, 2008
First of all, don't feel bad that you get bored. YOU are not 11-months old, and what's fun for a toddler is not necessarily fun for an adult. I got bored too. Try to make sure you get some time to do things you enjoy. (I know you've probably heard that before, but it does help!) (And if your husband's away, make sure to take care of you too!)
Also playtime can be like his attention span-in short bursts, it doesn't have to be a big chunk of time at this age. Just spending time interacting with him is one of the best things you can do at this age. Follow his lead and talk about what he's doing or the object he's playing with. He won't really play with another person for a while, but he'll watch and listen to you. He will get more interactive as he grows! (My son is now 4 and I sometimes long for the days when he found his socks interesting!! Now we have tons of toys and still there's "nothing to do"!)
There are lots of books out there that can give you ideas for activities to do with toddlers, which can be helpful (although not all the ideas will be appropriate yet). You also need to keep in mind that everything is a learning activity for a toddler! Follow his interests-give him some empty cereal boxes to play with until he starts eating them. Wash some old plastic bottles from lotion or things in the kitchen (remove the lids or hot glue them on). Let him tear some paper (fine motor skills!). Talk about colors and shapes, sing silly songs (or anything you know). Try some lift the flap books-kids at that age like interactive books, or use silly voices when you read short, simple books, or sing books that are based on songs (those were my son's favorites). Turn on some music and dance together. Go outside and talk about what you see. Just hang out and talk to him-that's all he needs!
T.T. answers from Washington DC on October 01, 2008
You have gotten a lot of good ideas from everybody already! I just wanted to add that naps may help, too. You didn't say whether your son naps well or not, but if not, see if you can get him on a good nap schedule. My daughter is 13 months and usually naps very well - 1 1/2-2 hours in both the morning and afternoon. If she misses a nap, she gets a sort of "second wind" and gets VERY active. If you didn't know her, you wouldn't be able to tell that she was tired, you would just think wow! that girl doesn't stop moving! So, anyway, just thought I would throw that out there!
C.D. answers from Washington DC on October 01, 2008
My son was the same way. Still is sort of and he's now 6. He liked to explore and finding the new toy/object was more fun than playing with plain toys. I had a cabinet in the kitchen that had safe kitchen things (ie pots, pans, big wooden spoons, empty cereal boxes, empty containers, and occassionally an actual toy). We also baby proofed our closet and he used to love to play in their with our off season clothes and other safe stuff we stored in there. Sometimes he would be having so much fun he'd fall asleep right in the kitchen or in the closet. One other thing he loved was playing in the sink. This took careful attention but he would play with containers in the running water while I was making a meal or cleaning in there and he could do that for hours (but he was probably closer to 15 months when he did that).
M.R. answers from Roanoke on October 02, 2008
if you want to introduce him to the computer, there is a free program called baby banger, where anytime he touches any key, it makes a cute cartoon.
Also boys in particular need an energy outlet. I go to a different park almost every day, even if it's only half an hour. Sometimes we'll picnic there. I have 2 boys, 5 and 3.5 and a little baby girl. Fenced in parks rule.
L.R. answers from Washington DC on October 01, 2008
A., I love the other suggestions like letting him play in a safe space with cushions and doing simple crafty stuff! I would add: He likes the cereal boxes and your bottles? He's exploring his world, which is great!! So give him empty boxes (from safe food-type products only) and empty bottles (plastic). Encourage him to stack them, roll them, anything but eat or throw them. Take a plastic liter bottle and put in dry corn kernels and firmly tape it shut so he can't get into it and he has a giant rattle he'll think is hilarious. Let him go nuts making noise with wooden spoons banging on the safe stuff in the kitchen (bakeware is good, nothing heavy like big pans). (If he loves this, yoiu might want to put locks on the kitchen cabinets so only you start this game!) Set up an obstacle course in a room with plenty of floor space and no sharp edges (no coffee tables etc.) so he can climb on and over big, sturdy boxes with you there to hold his hand if needed. (My daughter loved that at 11 months. Boxes are your friends!) And encourage him to dance, dance, dance. Kids this age usually LOVE music and you might get some time to do stuff if you have a safe area where he can just dance around to music. Physically energetic kids are tough because at this age, he does need you to be there when he's active like this, so just plan on not getting much done when he's awake. And please...dont' plonk him down in front of the TV. There are years of that to come. Now he needs the stimulation only you can give him--and he's such fun to be with, isn't he? Have a good time!
E.G. answers from Norfolk on October 01, 2008
You should try taking him to The Little Gym. They have a wonderful program for children his age, and you both have a great time. It is a great opportunity for the two of you to do something fun together and he will definitely be able to burn off some of his energy. My son always would fall asleep on the way home! :)
My daughter is in the same age group now and she LOVES it! The Little Gym offers a free trial class so you both can try it out and see if it is what you are looking for. The Little Gym in Chesapeake ###-###-####) is on Hanbury Road by the Harris Teeter (off the 168 expressway) and in Virginia Beach ###-###-####), it is on Laskin Road in the Hilltop area (behind Capt. Georges Seafood.) You can check out the website at www.thelittlegym.com and choose the right location.
Best of luck to you and hope to see you in class there!
S.O. answers from Washington DC on October 23, 2008
there is a a video game that is basially a bycicle wehere he uses the pedal to drive and count spell learn letters, ect. and has a control stick 4 when he is tired. it plug into a tv too.
W.J. answers from Roanoke on October 01, 2008
I also have a very active 11 month old, and some of his favorite toys are the ones I've made with plastic water bottles and milk jugs. I let the bottles dry out (I rinsed the milk jug with some warm water and dish soap), then put some dry beans, rice, or pasta inside and super glue the lid back on. If your son loves your bottles of lotion and cereal boxes maybe you can save those containers to make homemade toys that he might find interesting. It's an easy and cheap thing to try, so even if it doesn't work you're not out much.
K.W. answers from Washington DC on September 30, 2008
I remember feeling the same way you do when my boys were around 11 months old. It's a hard age to entertain because they want to get around to do things, but they still need your help and supervision. Do you have any other SAHMs in your neighborhood or mom groups that you could connect with? Even if they have kids that are not exactly the same age, it takes some of the pressure off of you to entertain him when he has the chance to interact with other children.
The good thing about this age is that it doesn't take much to make them happy. So many things are "new" to them. Here are some ideas:
1. Turn on some music and dance and sing. Give him a "microphone" and show him what to do.
2. Set up an obstacle course in a safe area with blankets, pillows, couch cushions, etc.. and have him climb through it.
3. Sit him in his highchair and let him finger-paint with pudding
4. Kids this age love music, so get out your pots and pans and let him make his own music
5. Go to the free programs at the library for babies/toddlers where they have activities for kids his age
6. Get some contact paper and different types of material (feathers, cotton balls, tissue paper, fabric pieces) and let him "glue" it to the paper. Just stay with him to make sure he doesn't try to eat anything. Hope this helps!!
J.B. answers from Washington DC on October 01, 2008
Looks like you've already gotten some good advice... I certainly agree that it's normal to feel "bored" but you shouldn't feel bad about that. (easier said than done, right?) ;) My guys like to have music to "dance" to. They run around in circles in the living room. We even have to move one chair so they have even more room to run. They are 19 months and 4 years old. You might want to try music. They end up asking for the music we like to listen to, so we get our 4 year old asking for classical, Simon and Garfunkel, Gaelic Storm, all kinds. It's pretty funny. It's a great way to get energy out and they are too cute. Great dance moves! ;)
Another option might be to set up an "obstacle course" for him to explore and try to conquer. You could put out pillows to climb over and if you have a coffee table, he could crawl under it, put a blanket between a chair and the couch to make a "tent" to crawl through. That kind of stuff. He'd think it's funny and probably get really into it.
Good luck. Try taking pictures, too. That would give you something you might have more fun with too. If you have a digital camera, show him the pictures. My guys have always loved to see themselves in the digital screen and on the computer.
C.L. answers from Washington DC on October 01, 2008
I am a stay at home custodial grandmom to a very busy 21 month old little boy. It was driving me crazy trying to keep him occupied, yet not tear up my home. Joining the local MOM's Club has been a salvation for me. In addition to a weekly playgroup, we have other activities such as going to a petting farm, a bounce around, or just going to lunch occasionally. This month we are going pumpkin picking and are having a Halloween costume party. You can locate you local chapter by searching the web.
Also, you do not say where you are stationed. Ft Meade has an activity called Romp N Stomp every Tuesday from 9:30 to 11:00 at the Child Development Center. They have a large gym that is filled with toys suitable for ages from infant to toddler. It is free to military and their dependents.
You could also check with your local Parks and Rec Department for activities and classes geared to his age and development.
A.G. answers from Washington DC on October 01, 2008
Luckily my twins (now 16 months) are not like this every day, but they do get like this when we can't go outside. I got a few active toys just for these times and store them in my garage or basement other times. We have a crawl through tube and rocking "shell" from Ikea. We got one of the smaller toddler slides. I also saved a bunch of (about 20) Formula containers and the kids open and close them, stuff things on them, bang on them, and build towers with them. These things really help to take care of the edge off their boredom.
Also my kids still don't let me read to them often, but I found some books that they will look at on their own. One is a cheap photo album that I filled with pictures of people they know. Otherwise they like books with lots of things going on in the picture.
Around this age my kids were making me crazy and I finally had to institute TV time. I had them watch a 20 minute video once a day to give me some time to do chores. I finally found one sign language video that seem to keep them riveted (at least for 10 minutes) called "My baby can sign" - its like magic. It might not work for your son though so I might try different educational videos your library has to offer. TV might not be the best thing for them, but a happy mommy is good for them too and they really did learn to sign.
I also find myself bored often. Any time you are doing the same thing day after day it happens, even if that thing is taking care of a wonderful little boy. Look at it this way the occasional frustration and boredom help you really appreciate the fun times and keep you from having 13 kids. If they were all fun 24/7 who would ever stop.
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