Please Help, My Toddler’s Bored!"

Julie Jenkins Sathe

Remember what it is like to be young. Put aside the dishes and the housework, step away from the computer and really, really think about being that young child. Remember blanket forts? Remember blocks and boxes, simple household items that are imagined into life? Remember tea parties and dress up? Remember peek-a-boo and slap jack?

Appreciate today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Really look and listen to your child as they play, speak, ask and discover. Ask them questions. Answer the ones that they ask. “Why the sky blue, why is is that lady here, why can’t I have more syrup?” No matter what the question, decide you will answer it…today. “The sky has always been blue during the day…unless it’s cloudy or stormy. Let’s make sure we watch it when it’s yellow or black, okay?” “That lady is here because it’s a restaurant and she wants food, too.” “You have so much syrup on your pancakes anymore will not be healthy.”

Invent games and fun without batteries or electricity. See if you can inspire fun with dress up hats, boxes for blocks, cards for house building, board games or guessing games. Imagine again.

Notice all of the things is your home that can be made into fun. A bowl of water, a dollop of liquid soap and a whisk will keep your toddler happy for maybe 30 minutes. Folding laundry? Ask your toddler to help. They can meet the four corners of all the wash clothes (don’t fix them, either.) Got a couple of liquid measuring cups? Set up two on a small tray. Fill one with water (add a drop of food coloring for fun) let them practice pouring. Don’t forget a sponge or a washcloth for spills and prepare yourself for spills. Let your child choose magazine or catalogue photos and tear them out and glue a collage. You could make this a theme for an older child or preschooler: find everything blue, find animal pictures, find pictures with wheels! Let ‘em rip and tear, older kids can cut for a cleaner edge. Decide the mess is worth it.

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