Sahms- Entertaining Small Children

Updated on December 12, 2012
P.M. asks from Whiteland, IN
27 answers

Okay, my kids just turned 1 and 2. The TV is pretty much always on, but mostly as background noise. We do listen to music, as well. They own enough toys to stay entertained, mostly educational things. But my oldest is just now getting potty training down. She still has accidents, but not much. My youngest has always been extremely needy. She always wants to be held, and she doesn't sleep well. Every day for naptime I have to sit with her and rub her back for a few minutes unless I want to hear her scream for awhile. Also, they have both started this new picky eating trend. We end up with crumbs and toys everywhere everyday.

Needless to say, I feel accomplished if my girls are clean, fed, and get a nap. And if I manage to get a few daily chores done (laundry, dishes, vacuumng, etc) then I feel amazing, like Super Mom.

So then I'm talking to a friend today. She has a preschooler. She's telling me how she never lets him watch tv or allow him to play apps on her Kindle Fire (which mine do daily). And then she says she's been doing crafts with him since he was 1! And starts in on me about what I can/should do for mine.

I know I shouldn't compare my life to someone else's. And I'm sure she meant no harm with her comments. But it just irked me.

Am I being a lazy parent?

My kids are almost exactly a year apart, so most days I feel lucky just to have survived!

What do other SAHMs do with their small children?

BTW, I can't take them anywhere because hubby always has our vehicle.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the suggestions so far.

I'd say the tv has become a crutch for me. I turn it on to TRY to keep them both from following me as I do laundry, and it just stays on. BUT- we do not have cable or anything, so we watch shows on Netflix. I do have complete control over what they see. And it isn't just cartoons. I do need to put on more music, though.

Taking them anywhere is just a hassle.. Especially with my 2 year old potty training. But we do get out on the weekends.

ETA - I did mention in my OP that the tv is on as "background noise". I have already acknowledged that it's a crutch. That being said, I play with my children daily. They don't just "sit and watch tv", as if a 1 and 2 year old would really do that anyway! My daughters love drawing or playing drums or piano on the kindle. It certainly does not "stifle their creativity". And it beats the girls eating crayons and drawing on my walls. Thanks for the input, though. :)

--No offense, but some of these answers are really uptight. It makes me giggle. :)

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answers from New London on

My daughter is older now and all of these classes and activities were not offered back then. Thank heavens ! I hear parents of kids ages one and two talking about how these tots have full schedules w/ art classes, etc... out of the house. This is crazy. You can accomplish the same thing at home and when you go on errands and playdates.

You are not being a lazy parent. When kids are toddlers, they need a routine, to play, to hear language, discipline (because it takes a long time for a toddler to learn self-control) and their parent's love.

I do not know of any 1 yr old babies that can do crafts.

When my daughter was one, I would take her for walks, go to the playgrounds, build snowmen, go to other peoples houses on playdates, read toddler books, discipline her (when needed), play in the sandbox, stack blocks, limited tv time, listen to CD's and dance, teach her say thank you, etc...

You are doing just fine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I'm not anti-tv, I'm anti pointless noise.

Having the tv or radio on all the time for background noise can cause problems for times that require quiet. That means sleeping problems, and later reading/study problems.

Unless someone is actively watching a show, keep it off. If one of the kids is watching and wanders away, teach them to shut it off before leaving the room. Reserve radio use for when you're cleaning or everyone is doing something music-related.

Everyone should get used to less background stimulation.

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answers from Chicago on

you should not compare your life to hers and no your not a lazy mom. I would suggest that you start a good schedule and house rules. and start them now so that it is not an issue later. rules for that age

#1 all food is at the table (not walking around) meals are served and no food till next snack / meal. your not a short order cook don't get stuck in that trap

#2 and this is the biggie your not a non stop entertainer. and your tv should not be either. turn it off except when you turn it on to watch something specific. your kids have toys etc. show them how they work and let them play. there is nothing worse to me than a mom who brags about what they do all day for and with their kids but THEY CAN'T TALK ON THE PHONE OR IN PUBLIC WITHOUT SAME SAID KID MELTING DOWN BECAUSE MOMS ATTENTION IS SOMEWHERE ELSE sorry had to say that forcefully lol. there is truly nothing worse than a kid who can't entertain him/herself.

#3 take some "me" time every day. even if all it is is a half hour while they nap. read a book, join a bowling league once a week.

#4 breath in and out. Your a good mom or you wouldn't be worrying. just breath your doing great.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My kids are now 7, 6 and 4. When they were little, I felt good if we were all clean and fed :) I used to make a notebook with lists of things I'd like to get done, if I crossed one off it was a good day (mopped the floor, or cleaned a bathroom).

I did bake with them regularly - it gave us healthy snacks and they enjoyed it. I did not have a computer for them to use or have the TV on though - that might partly just be me, but I prefer to have them doing something else and I don't like the background noise.

We did try to get out of the house a few times a week to the zoo, children's museum, or otherwise. We also did some Mommy and Me classes (in MN there are classes called ECFE through the school district) and we did science classes at a nature center.

We didn't do much "crafting" because we did it other places. Sometimes I got out the paints... but not often at the youngest ages.

Now that they are older, one is at school all day and one half day, we try to do more.

If I were to give you any advise, it would only be to try to limit the TV some. It's not recommended for kids under the age of two, and past that "they" say less than 2 hours...

Your doing great!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

We have five under age 6. I feel like a super mom if I get the laundry done, and have at least one clean room in the house (must be spotless; I enjoy this challenge), and kids to school. I spend most of my day cleaning and little interacting with the kids, it seems. The kids get fed (not always my #1 choice of what I want them to eat), and baths are (to be honest) a weekend thing. They are a TON of work. They actually do showers except the 1-year-old. Just easier.

But, we don't allow TV or anything electronic for the kids under 3, nor do I have any devices (just an old cell that's always dead). I do, however, let the older ones 3, 5 and 6 watch an hour each day, after school.

To stay sane and healthy, I take them to the gym nursery 3 times a week, and starting at age 24 months they go to preschool for 4 hours 2 days a week, then 4 days a week when they turn 3.

It's a lot of school time but still, despite all my cleaning and managing the house and having them start would look at it some days and wonder why it's so messy. We never have a dinner on the table, but I am doing better and yesterday I got beans, veggies and shrimp on plates at the same time and that was an actual dinner. I was so proud. They just picked at it, of course.

When I had just a 1 and 2-year-old we were out of the house a LOT. Staying home was hard. Anything to get out, we did. Now I find it too hard to go out in public, let alone cross a parking lot safely.
Good luck! You are surviving and they are growing...time flies!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Eau Claire on

I currently run an in-home daycare (for now anyway) and also have a 1 year old and 2.5 year old. It is exhausting. I, like you, know that I should do something better than the tv, but some days it is just a crutch I need to maintain my sanity. I try to choose something educational, so I feel like they get something out of it. During the day however, I've found it best to create a daily schedule/routine to try and mix up my day. For example, I'd schedule in 5 minutes of songs, then 5 minutes of reading. We'd squeeze in a craft after breakfast while still in high chairs, even if it was just coloring the letter A. Sometimes I felt like they got nothing out of this, but later when I would ask her to recall sometimes she would surprise me and get the letter right. I've watched alot of kids and all are different. Some will sit for 20 mintes to do a craft. Some won't give you 2 minutes of their attention for one if they're not in the mood. You just have to make a list, try to hit some of the things, and if the kids (or you) just aren't in the mood, then move one. And if you're conerned enough to write this, I'm guessing you're not a lazy parent but a very caring, concerned parent and you're kids will be just fine!
I also used this website to help me design my weeks... while I don't do everything she does (the bible verses, or the 2nd languages) she does have some great ideas and it really helped to motivate me to plan things for the kids, and actually feel like they and I accomplished something for the day! Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

My kids are 18-months apart. I know it's hard.

Back before we moved, I made sure we went to the library at least twice a week (most public libraries have storytimes) and the gym at least once a week. I also tried to organize at least one playdate a week.

My house was a mess, but frankly, I kind of consider educating my kids to be my first priority. I tried to get out in some way at least 4/5 workdays a week.

Having said that, since we moved, I've been playing desperate catchup, unpacking, doing laundry, dishes, and just trying to keep up. My kids are now 2 and 3, and we don't get out as much. I'm happy with 1-2 times a week. I still try to do crafts and get to the gym each once a week, though. As for TV, iPad, etc., my kids are allowed to use them in limited doses. No screens before noon is my rule, though. That includes iPads, TV, computers, etc. That way, the morning is always spent in play. If I'm tired or sick, the afternoon is often spent with the TV on, but I try to restrict TV to 1 hour a day and same for computers most days.

Your lack of transportation is a problem. Do you live within walking distance of anything? Is there a bus? Even if you can't get out, I think you can do little things, baby-steps, to start doing more activities with your kids and cut down on their media usage. PBSkids' website has a parents' section with idea for crafts for different age groups, and you can also search the internet for ideas. My kids get a thrill out of crafts, so last week, for example, we made gingerbread houses. My littlest could only decorate and didn't mind a bit.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Lancaster on

My kids are 15 months apart. Having one child or children who are spaced further apart is a very different experience. When your kids are this young and this close together, sometimes you just have to be happy when everyone is fed, clean and reasonably happy.

That being said, my girls don't watch tv or have any other screen time. I do a craft (like fingerprinting or something else really basic once or twice a week) Frankly, when most parents say they are doing a craft with a kid under 2 or 3, it means the parent is doing the craft, not the child. We go to the library once a week, my older daughter has gymnastics once a week and we do some activities with a mom's club once in a while.Other than that, they play independently or help me with the housework. My girls love to read and we probably spend 1-2 hours a day doing that.

Cut yourself some slack - it is really hard having two little ones so close together! I may get slammed for this remark, but people with only one kid have way more time to judge others. The more kids you have the more you just focus on taking care of them and less on what other people are doing.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I'd say get outside once a day - walk with them to a park or ride the bus somewhere and back. Go sledding if you have snow or go on a nature scavenger hunt. Can you take the truck one day a week and take them to the local library story time or music time for toddlers? My kids both loved that so much and afterwards they got some social time playing with the other kids. I'd say you should give yourself a break bc they are so close in age - that must be exhausting. But I'd also say you are being a little lazy. Maybe think of an activity for them to do a couple times a week...make a batch of homemade playdoh, do a craft, get out the finger paints. I know it's a bit of a pain with set up and clean up, but your kids will love it. Make a fort out of boxes for them or a puppet theater with a big box. Have some silly dress up time. Have them help you cook or bake or make cookies. Also, invite over another mom or two with similar aged kids to come for coffee and playtime some mornings. I used to do that once a week and it was nice to talk to some other adults and gave the kids some practice interacting with others. Anyway, don't feel like you have to be planning cool projects for them daily but a couple times a week would be fun for them. Personally I would go totally insane if I never left the house each day! Maybe an outing once a week would be good for you too. :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Some days you will just simply be in survival mode...if you need to use the tv to keep peace and sanity then that is YOUR style of parenting...maybe not what others would do.

Don't compare yourself. Comparing yourself to others will take the joy out of mothering your sweet little ones. No you are not lazy. Her comments were probably because she meant well...don't read too much into it. She might see you struggling and think the crafting might help. But to you it is overwhelming to even think of glue and glitter..and that is ok. Yours are young and very close together. It is ok to be looking forward to nap time each day!! I hope you take one too occasionally!!

When my kids were little we did a lot of walks to the park in a stroller, group outings to the park, or to each other's homes for playdates. Kids played, adults talked. It was a win win for all!! We are a tv watching, computer&wii playing bunch here at our house and there is no guilt when I am up against other parents are militant with tv restrictions and do not allow video games.

You need to feel confident in YOUR way of parenting. I don't remember my mom EVER playing with us kids. I remember the tv on a lot. We played outside and had a lot of freedom..but I knew mom was always there if I stubbed my toe or my feelings were hurt or my stomach was grumbling.

Parents today feel a huge sense of guilt if they are not playing with their kids constantly,crafting with their kids,doing second language flashcards with their kids or offering every extra curricular activity their child dreams up.

Let go of the guilt and do what YOU can feasibly do.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You're getting some great advice!

Don't compare yourself to other moms, what works for one doesn't always work for another. Just remember to have fun with them and help them learn through play.

Even without a car you can go for walks, weather permitting, kids need fresh air. And it's a GOOD thing to do with a potty-training child, she'll learn the importance of going before leaving the house and to "hold" it for a few minutes for the potty.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

First, P.-- do not compare your life with other people's lives. No one ever comes out ahead.

I don't think you are being a lazy parent. Regarding tv specifically, I would encourage you to find another kind of background noise (music is a good one) and then use tv strategically. When my son was about 2, we had a bluegrass dvd that helped me get dinner made for about a month.

There are books at your local library and websites with simple things to do with our kids, so you can google those. That said, a lot of what is available is either 'messy art' or just simple daily activities. I'll be honest with you-- at this age, with two, just being alive, going on walks, having simple books read to them or very simple fingerplays (Where is Thumbkin?, Two Little Blackbirds) is fine. Letting your older one do simple things like help stir up some eggs for a scramble (you'll need to help hold the bowl) or 'play' kitchen with a bowl and a whisk alongside you-- these things are enough. Playing in the bathtub--great.

With these two ages, a lot of activities you present (even eating) you already know require a LOT of your attention.

I would encourage you to NOT stress on this. Really. When little kids have parents doing crafts with them, often the parent is doing most of the craft. You can do easy activities like using clear contact paper and letting your older child stick ripped/cut paper or tissue paper onto it. You could tape a big piece of newspaper to the table, give your two year old a paintbrush, tape the paper onto the newspaper (so it doesn't move) and put a couple squirts of paint down to let her paint or mix colors.

Once again, though, I understand how difficult it is to juggle two young ones. Perhaps your friend lacks empathy because she has one child and there's a huge difference! It's a completely different experience, and you don't know it unless you've lived it. Believe me, I know--I've worked as a toddler/preschool teacher, a nanny for families that grew more babies while I worked for them, and am the mom of one. My guess is that your friend just can't relate and is in that space of 'my way is best'. I'd either steer her away from those conversations or just tell her the truth "You know, I know you are trying to help me, but it feels like you are saying I'm not doing enough, and it makes me feel bad." Depending on how safe and honest of a friend she is, it might be worth a shot.

And my one child is five and you know what?--when I get those daily chores done with a couple extras, I feel like Superwoman too. Then I get into bed and pass out.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

When my kids were that age we got up around 8:00am and ate breakfast. The kids would play with toys and watch some tv until about 10:00am. Spring, summer and fall we would then go for a walk to the playground. The kids would play until 11:30am, and we would walk home and eat lunch. Winter we would drive to the Y or another indoor venue until lunch. After lunch at about 1:00pm we would go on another outing, either to playgroup (twice a week), the zoo, museum, swimming, library or just grocery shopping. We would be home for 3:00pm for a nap or quiet time. During that time I made dinner and did housework. We'd eat dinner at 5:00pm. After dinner in the winter we would usually stay home and play with toys and watch movies, except for swim lesson night. In good weather we would go for a walk or out to the park. Then baths and they often watched some tv before bedtime at 10:00pm. I could not have stayed at home all day entertaining the kids. I found that too exhausting. I liked being out and about around other people, and so did my kids. We never did crafts at home, but the kids did them at playgroup, not that they were very interested in crafts. I'm not interested in crafts. Not having a car would make it difficult. Do you not have a playground or school within walking distance? If you have a stroller or a wagon you could go for walks. In most places kids under 5 are free to ride the bus. At that age I remember my kids thinking taking a bus was a huge adventure!

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answers from Hartford on

Have you checked out Pintrest? There are alot of great idea for toddler activities that you could make with your kids that are inexpensive. Are you close to public transportation? Some of the local libraries have family story times at night or during the day (depending on when you have transportation). You could also set up a schedule during the day where you set aside specific times to watch a particular show or play with a particular app on the kindle. My son has a half hour of TV when he gets home to calm down from the day. He also is not allowed on the ipad or computer until his homework is done. I have used the radio or CD's in the past for background noise so the TV would be off.

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answers from New York on

I work full time and have one two year old. He's in daycare, or with grandma during working hours during the work week.

on weekends, when he is in hubs and my care, we find that we all feel better, and the house stays markedly cleaner if we have two outings/ activities a day.

Here are some of the things we find ourselves doing. laying out breadcrumbs and chasing birds, kicking up leaves. Jumping over cracks in the sidewalk. watching cars, looking for cats, picking up pebbles. jumping in puddles. playing with blocks, playing with playdough, coloring on the bathroom tiles etc, digging in the dirt, playing with the mud. Stacking tupperware. making pretend soup. pairing socks. climbing the stairs. Building a fort out of pillows, playing peek a boo in the drapery. piggy back rids. spinning till we drop. swinging. making lemonade. paying calls on neighbors. chatting with the old folks in the park. saying hello to the neighborhood dogs. feeding squirrels. watching trains. going to the bagel shop for a bagel and coffee. grocery shopping. dress up (wearing mommy's heels or daddy's boots and going up and down the stairs). riding the elevator and saying hello to the neighbors. Going to the laundry room is a big deal. we do silly things like wear sock on our hands and gloves on our feet. He helps me wash the dishes, take out the trash, sweep the floor, set the table, unload the dishwasher, sort the cutlery, clean the baseboard. we water plants. we water street trees. we draw with sidewalk chalk. we've got membership to the children's museum, and to the zoos, we go to church and or to mommy & me, we go to dinners at extended family homes, or attend birthday parties. We occassionally host playdates.

There's enrichment and activity to be had everywhere.

My kid has long had an independent play streak. So he's alright playing on his own, or playing on his own, once he's been started at a thing. He is high energy, strong, determined, and very orderly and regimented, he's also a punk and a flirt.

Getting him out of the house, helps him get his wriggles out. Just a thought.

We don't feel compelled to do crafty things at home, because he gets a fair share of that at daycare and at mommy & me.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

My two at home are 2 and 4. And I have a hard time keeping them occupied too. The two year old destroys crayons, would ruin my carpet w/ markers or glue. Im not sure what craft would work at this age.....

I play w/ them or try to, and their attention span lasts 10 minutes tops. Usually my four year old interrupts play time w/ a request for a snack, juice, or asking to watch a show. The two year old contsantly floats from thing to thing.
Do the best you can! In between trying to capture their attention you have a house to run and clean as well as keep them feed and safe. there will ALWAYS be those moms who act or seem like they have it all together. Anyone can SEEM that way lol

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answers from Los Angeles on

Don't be so hard on yourself. Being a mom is a tough job trying to get "it"
all done!

First of all, sitting with your little on rubbing her back is fine. It's what works for her and when she naps you get a break.

Btw, the picky eating thing isn't always being picky. At that age their tastebuds change. What they liked 2 months ago they may no longer like. There will be several changes like this in their young lives. If they get older & won't TRY things, well that's different.

Don't compare yourself to other moms. Do what works FOR YOU!

I have the tv on sometimes to either cartoons when I need to get something done like dinner etc. I don't want him around the stove.
I interact with him ALL day EVERY day so I don't feel guilty.

I take him places but I have my car. Since you don't maybe you could occasionally take them for a walk around the block or to a nearby park (that has a bathroom). It does not have to be long but just for you to get out.

You are not being a lazy parent. I do all of my chores (all by myself) when I can get them done. I do try to play & interact w/my child then I tell him "okay mommy has to get some things done".

I do crafts w/mine but there's a huge gap btwn my kids.
I don't let ppl make me feel guilty.

Since I have a car I take them to the park, outside malls, reading time at the library, playtime at this toy store etc.
When I don't? I take them for a walk or the nearby park.

I, too, feel like Supermom when I can tend to the kids AND get housework done. Laundry, sweeping, mopping, cleaning the bathrooms/ kitchen, dinner etc. If can get additional things done like change the linens, clean the blinds...............OMG I feel like a super hero! :)

Do what works for you & don't let other ppl's comments affect you.
I live in a neighborhood near an affluent area where the moms are dressed to the nines, their husbands make tons of money, moms go to the gym, get their hair and nails done etc but at the park their kids are th worst behaved. So don't compare yourself & structure your day like YOU want.


Don't be so hard on yourself. Being a mom is a tough job trying to get "it"
all done!

First of all, sitting with your little on rubbing her back is fine. It's what works for her and when she naps you get a break.

Btw, the picky eating thing isn't always being picky. At that age their tastebuds change. What they liked 2 months ago they may no longer like. There will be several changes like this in their young lives. If they get older & won't TRY things, well that's different.

Don't compare yourself to other moms. Do what works FOR YOU!

I have the tv on sometimes to either cartoons when I need to get something done like dinner etc. I don't want him around the stove.
I interact with him ALL day EVERY day so I don't feel guilty.

I take him places but I have my car. Since you don't maybe you could occasionally take them for a walk around the block or to a nearby park (that has a bathroom). It does not have to be long but just for you to get out.

You are not being a lazy parent. I do all of my chores (all by myself) when I can get them done. I do try to play & interact w/my child then I tell him "okay mommy has to get some things done".

I do crafts w/mine but there's a huge gap btwn my kids.
I don't let ppl make me feel guilty.

Since I have a car I take them to the park, outside malls, reading time at the library, playtime at this toy store etc.
When I don't? I take them for a walk or the nearby park.

I, too, feel like Supermom when I can tend to the kids AND get housework done. Laundry, sweeping, mopping, cleaning the bathrooms/ kitchen, dinner etc. If can get additional things done like change the linens, clean the blinds...............OMG I feel like a super hero! :)

Do what works for you & don't let other ppl's comments affect you.
I live in a neighborhood near an affluent area where the moms are dressed to the nines, their husbands make tons of money, moms go to the gym, get their hair and nails done etc but at the park their kids are th worst behaved. So don't compare yourself & structure your day like YOU want.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I also run an in-home daycare and have for 22 years now. I wouldn't worry about doing crafts at your children's ages. When they are preschoolers, they usually LOVE them and can do so much more on their own. But for now don't do them 'just to be a better mom.' You are doing everything right.

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answers from Honolulu on

Okay, first off:
WHY does your Hubby have the vehicle, always???
You are the one with the kids, and home with the kids, and you and they SURELY have appointments to go to, their check ups, Dentist, going to the Doctor when they are sick etc., and for doing your general errands and grocery shopping etc.
So to me, YOU SHOULD have the vehicle.

I say this because: I am a SAHM (although I work part time), my kids are now 6 and 10 and are both in school now. BUT even when younger and even now, I... have the car. Why? Because, if my Husband takes it to work daily... all it will be doing is sitting in the parking lot ALL day doing nothing, and then parking costs money too. So, my Hubby does not "need" the car everyday all day.
We only have 1 vehicle in our family.
So, I have the vehicle because I am the one home... and with the kids. Daily. And things needs to get done and I need to take them places and take me places too and to any appointments and doing things for the FAMILY all day, everyday.

Everyday, I take my kids to school and then drive my Husband to work and I pick him up after work. And then sometimes, he car pools. And he has even taken the bus, as well.

Your kids are also real young. So yes, it is a REAL busy day all day everyday with no rest.
Just do what you can, don't compare yourself to that other woman. So what.
You are you. She is she.
Then, when your kids are older, they can go to Preschool. Kids love it and develop well with it and it preps them for Kindergarten. Maybe the 2 year old can even be enrolled somewhere already, part-time for half days.
THEN once your kids go to Preschool etc. you WILL NEED THE CAR.
Your Husband... has to think... about these things.
How the heck can you transport your kids without a vehicle?
And what if there is an emergency???
For us, I am the primary "emergency contact" because *I* have the car.

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answers from Evansville on

I only have one to take care of and I am also a stay at home mommy. Dora is on all day long, because that is what she likes to watch. I cannot imagine taking her to the library yet for story time, or anything else. She is so active she would have the whole libary torn apart. As far as entertaining, we color with crayons and paper or coloring books, I read to her, she loves to play with canned food and empty pots and pans, containers, bowls or anything else I let her have in the kitchen while I'm cooking. She helps me with the laundry! at least empties out the dryer for me and brings me the clean clothes we have turned this into a game. We go strolling when the weather is nice. But honestly all we can do is the best we can do as mothers, I have raised 3 older children and I do not remember entertaining them at all. I worked full time then and when I was home I was so busy cooking, cleaning and doing laundry or errands that they just entertained themselves. I don't know why people are so down on tv, as long as they are watching educational and learning programs?? But I guess everyone has there own opinions.

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answers from Boise on

I can understand the survival mode that you are in, I have been there! It will get easier as your kids get older! I suggest that you start small, try to plan one enriching activity per day (plus reading a couple of books each day). Here are some ideas: Make some homemade play dough and break out all of your cookie cutters, garlic press, and other tolls to have fun sculpting! Play with your children and make sure to put everything away on a high shelf when you are done so they can't get into the play dough and make a mess! Fill a plastic tub or two with warm, soapy water and wash small toys or doll clothes in it, my 2 year old boy likes to wash his toy cars and call it his "car wash." If you do this activity in the kitchen then afterwards just mop up all the water with a towel and voilà, you have mopped the floor! Make eatable finger paint by tinting vanilla pudding with food coloring then letting the kids “paint” a plate or cookie sheet. They can lick their fingers and it won’t be toxic! Teach your children to tell stories, start a story about a character and then ask your children what they think should happen next, for example my son and I told each other a story about Winnie the Pooh yesterday, I said ‘Winnie the Pooh looked in his kitchen cupboards for honey but he couldn’t find any so then what did he do? And my son decided that he cooked some honey in a pot on the stove by using “lots of ingredients.” You will get such a kick out of the stories your children come up with! I think that by adding just an hour or two of fun activities to your days you can enrich your children’s lives and feel less guilty about letting them watch some TV, although TV is not ideal I don’t think it will destroy your children by any means!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I know tons of mom's on here will condemn you for the Tv but seriously, ours is on too because "I" am a grown up and "I" enjoy watching TV while I am doing other stuff. I don't mind in the least if the kids watch their TV's., yes, they both have a small TV in their rooms with a DVD player beside it and they have built in VCR slots on the bottom of the TV. They often don't even turn it on if it's not on and if they do think of it it too becomes more background noise than anything. I don't care if they watch TV all day when they are home. It's NOT A BIG DEAL. It's fun and they get up and go play then they get interested if a show they like comes on then they go play again when it goes off.

It's not a big deal.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

When my son was that age I read to him, played blocks with him, sang songs with him, rolled (later tossed) a ball with him, named things and colors, counted everything and played outside. I tried to do some sort of craft project (ok - most days coloring, play doh and cutting out and gluing things) most days. DS did not see any television until he was almost 4 and still (he is turning 7) has no electronic games or toys. DS was in daycare 3 days a week, spent 1 day with me, 1 day a week with DH and 2 days a week (weekend) with both of us.

The current AAP recommendations are for zero screen time for children under 2 and severely limited screen time after that. It would be good for you to play with them outside everyday (we went out unless it was pouring or really less than 25-30 degrees out - I hate cold but my son loves it). Also - kids need LOTS of running around and physical activity. If it was raining or too cold to go outside, I would generally take him to the indoor play land at the mall.

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answers from San Francisco on

For sure do NOT compare your mothering to anyone else's!
But since you asked,
my days spent with the kids when they were little went pretty much like this:
-wake up, breakfast, TV on for one or two shows (usually PBS because I LOATHE commercials) while I cleaned up & did a few chores
-many days we would pack some lunches and go to the park, the pool or over to a friend's house and play (or friends would come to ours)
-days we didn't go anywhere the kids would play outside, or we'd take a walk or something, they would "help" me garden or bake, etc.
-then nap, more chores or I'd do an exercise video or read or whatever
-after nap they would have a snack then play while I did whatever I wanted or needed to do
-TV was usually on again while I made dinner
-after dinner, daddy's home, some play time with him, then bath and bedtime
I never REALLY played with them, or entertained them. I talked to them constantly, and I read to them several times a day, but other than that they mostly played on their own.
You can contain the mess by keeping all food and drinks at the table, that's a great habit to start now (I couldn't stand sticky fingers and faces and leaky cups all over the walls and furniture, yuk!)
I am VERY sorry you are home all day without a car, that would have driven me crazy for sure. Do you have places you can walk to, or neighbors you can socialize with?

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answers from Columbus on

Oh, I would love to have those days back again! My two are in high school now and sure we still do things together but not enough for me!

When mine were tiny, I would always let them "help" with whatever they could. If I was doing laundry, they would "fold" for me. If I was washing dishes, I set out a bowl of water and they could "wash" plastic cups or something. Whatever I was doing, they almost always would be mimicking me. They had a little kitchen set - they would "cook" whenever I was cooking. Sometimes I would pull the kitchen set into the real kitchen and they'd be right there doing what Mommy was doing.

If they wanted to color or paint, I would be right there doing it with them then after a few minutes I would go do something else and they learned how to do stuff on their own. I loved doing little workbooks with them; they were learning a lot of things and not even realizing they were learning. We would read A LOT!!! We would take walks outside - they would learn their colors, objects, etc. No question ever went unanswered!

At nap time we would read to relax then they would fall asleep.

One thing I do have to say is you need to have meal times at the table or one set location - they shouldn't be running all over - that's just asking for ants and bugs!! And they'll learn they can do this in restaurants as welll!

Like I said, my two are in high school now - they are both very self-sufficient, work part-time jobs, are ambitious, straight A students and I feel a lot of this is because I gave them a great start to life!!!

Good luck!!!

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answers from Dayton on

I stayed at home for 5 years with 2 small children. They watched only 30 min. of TVmost days. Once in a while we would get a movie from the library to watch. They did play with blocks, coloring, we had reading time in the morning and afternoon and yes, sometimes did crafts. My kids are 2.5 yrs apart and are now adults. I did have a vehicle to use so we went to playgroups occasionally (moms and kids). We went to storytime at the library. Late in my time at home my oldest was in preschool 3 mornings a week.I recommend a schedule, and no TV or Kindle or very little of that sort of stimulation. The schedule can be explained to the kids as "quiet time for you, to draw, (or some other thing done independently), and I need this time to do (fill in the blank)." At 1 and 2 they should be able to play without your intervention for 30 min. At first this may be hard for them but they will catch on. You'll be glad you worked on this. Eating shouldn't be done all over the house and snacking shouldn't be continuous, as that can lead to bad eating habits at meal time. It does take effort to create structure for kids, but I think you will all be happier. Even if your kids don't tell time you can tell them that when the hands are on these numbers we will do (fill in the blank) Going outside some every day is also important. Kids need large muscle play that they mostly can't get inside. Can you take public transportation to a library or park? Can you put the kids in a stroller and walk somewhere? Can you buy a bike and a carrier and get out? My kids were good eaters and sleepers so I can't really address those issues.

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answers from Columbus on

I didn't read any of the other responses first because I didn't want it to influence my opinion. You know what, you need to do what's right/ what works for YOUR family! If your kids are happy and healthy and well loved and mostly well behaved who the heck should care what your kids do all day? What works for your friend and what works for you can be different and both are right.

PS Craft? With a 1 year old boy? Shoot me now! I try and leave crafts for day care to do. Honestly, the whole crafting experience never goes well in our house and I end up cleaning glitter for weeks.

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