For most of us, this temporary way of living without contacting loved ones, friends and family and trying to make your food shop last as long as possible without buying too much, is going to take a while to adapt to as we learn to live with so many foreign concepts that disrupt our daily routine. Whilst we don’t know how long we’re going to be inside, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your little ones entertained, right from the comfort of your own home.
No you’re no longer able to attend your baby sensory class or catch up with friends over coffee to unload about the disastrous night you have just experienced but fear not, the following inspiration should hopefully arm you with plenty of tips and tricks to keep little minds occupied.
Just remember – this difficult time will pass.
Activity ideas for little ones:
- New toys don’t have to be new – put some away for a few days and then swap them around. This way they will be happy to see them appear again and will find them more interesting
- Keep it simple – whilst an old mobile phone, a plastic jug or bowl and wooden spoon are just simple household items, they make great fun for your little one. An old remote-control works wonders too since your baby always want what we have!
- Shake it up – an empty coffee tin or something similar with some dried pasta or rice in is a quick fix for hours of fun, seal the top so they cannot undo it and you have a safe baby shaker.
- Make music – babies love to sing, download the baby sensory songs which they may already be familiar with. Dancing is also stimulating, even if they are not mobile yet, they love to watch our disco skills.
- Get creative with paint – and it doesn’t mean you need actual paint, just a bowl of water and a paint brush outside is great fun and creates the illusion they are painting the patio, decking or walls (without making a mess).
- Cooking up a storm – babies love to make biscuits and then decorate them when cool, or homemade pizza, cup-cakes or anything delicious and easy.
- Audio books – Stick man comes highly recommend – it has an exciting story, songs and games to play providing 30 mins of entertainment for you and your tiny tot.
- Tidying – they love to empty a drawer (given the chance).
- Get busy in the garden – planting seeds and remembering to water daily gives your baby something to look forward to and makes for great fun!
Another fun activity which keeps little fingers busy is playdough, crack out your best wipe clean tablecloth and equip your child with an apron for hours of creating, moulding and imagining. Why don’t you try making your own playdough, we all know mums and dads like to join in on the fun sometimes too? The following recipe is the perfect way to get the whole family involved.
You will need
8 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp table salt
60ml warm water
1tbsp vegetable oil
1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the water, a few drops of food colouring and the oil.
2. Pour the coloured water into the flour mix and bring together with a spoon.
3. Dust a work surface with a little flour and turn out the dough. Knead together for a few minutes to form a smooth, pliable dough. If you want a more intense colour you can work in a few extra drops of food colouring.
4. Store in a plastic sandwich bag (squeeze out the air) in the fridge to keep it fresh.
With your normal routine more than likely out the window, here is a good way to structure your day with your little one. This routine works best for babies six months and over.
6-7 am wake up
7.30-8 am breakfast
6-7 am wake up
9 am nap time if under 15-18 months (30-45 mins long)
10 am snack time
Outdoor play – even on wetter days if they are well wrapped up and have boots on, they love splashing in puddles
Screen time – there are many online singing / activity / story
Story or music time
1pm nap time (90-120 mins long)
3pm snack time
3.30-5pm play time
4-5 pm (nap time 30-45 mins for little ones under 8 months )
5 pm dinner time
6-7pm bath / feed/ bed
Speaking of routine, now that you and your partner are both at home, you must ensure the change of lifestyle causes minimal disruption to your baby’s sleeping and eating schedules. Obviously, it is going to be impossible to keep their routine completely in check with the restrictions on going out and mixing with others as keeping your family safe is the number one priority, however, there is still a range of ideas on how to achieve home-bound happiness for all the family.
If your partner is having to take calls during the day, playing white noise is a great way to avoid disturbance during naps. One problem that could generally arise for parents who take their baby out in a pram or a sling to help them to drop off to sleep, is that this is now not as possible. With this difficulty in mind, this is the perfect time to trial sleep coaching in order to wean them into their cot for naptime and get them more familiar with sleeping on their own. For babies who do need the fresh air to be able to relax, push their pram around the garden to help them drop off faster without having to leave the house.
Hope you find these tips useful and if you would like some 1-2-1 help with sleep, routine, feeding or weaning, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam, The Baby Guru
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