30 Things You Can Do with Your Toddler While Caring for Your Newborn to keep them happy and entertained. Parenting ideas to help get you through the day!
It can be tough to have a newborn, but trust me, it CAN be even tougher having both a newborn and a toddler. Your toddler is ready for action, but the baby wants to eat, sleep, and repeat. There are ways to keep both happy and preserve your sanity at the same time.
Here are 30 things you can do with your toddler while caring for your newborn:
1. Go to the zoo- Your newborn will enjoy the stroll and your toddler will be entertained with all the fascinating creatures.
2. Go on a nature walk- Give your toddler some items to look for while you’re taking the baby for a nap-time stroll around the block or down a local trail. Think of it as a nature scavenger hunt.
3. Go to the park- All toddlers need their energy fill. Head outside for a little fun. Let your toddler play and explore while you watch from the comfort of a bench with baby.
4. Take pictures together- You want hundreds of pictures of your new bundle, and your toddler is going to enjoy taking those pictures for you.
5. Clean the house- Toddlers love to be mommy’s little helper. So, hand out the wipes and go to town cleaning together while baby naps.
6. Have a colour hunt- It’s time to learn colours! Have your toddler find things around the house that are certain colours while you attend to baby.
7. Find animals in the clouds- Toddlers can have the wildest imaginations if you give them the chance. Take a blanket and lay down with baby and your toddler to find animals in the clouds.
8. Read books together- Babies and toddlers both can benefit from story time. Make reading an active part of your day every day.
9. Look at baby pictures- Your toddler may not understand the whole baby thing. Sharing their baby pictures may help them out and keep them entertained for awhile.
10. Learn during snack time- There is always a way to incorporate learning. Make use of snack time by counting and sorting.
11. Play I spy games- Foster your toddler’s imagination by telling them what you see and having them go and find it. This is a fun game to play while nursing or feeding baby.
12. Listen to fun music- Music is comforting to babies and is a great way to keep your toddler entertained. Listen to educational dance music and have a blast.
13. Let your child play with pasta- You can let your toddler sort pasta by size, colour, or shape. Alternatively they can use them as beads for making a necklace.
14. Use stickers for fun- Toddlers love stickers and you can give them hours of fun with some inexpensive dollar store stickers to play with.
15. Play pretend- Get out a baby doll and have your child do what you do with the baby. This is a great way for them to feel more involved with their new sibling.
16. Tell stories- Give your toddler a story starter and have them finish it.
17. Use your baking sheets with magnets- Magnets can be used throughout the house by placing them on baking sheets for a little fun play.
18. Get out the puzzles- You can never go wrong with puzzles. Puzzles are great for calming down an over-excited toddler, especially if you are trying to get your newborn to sleep.
19. Do some painting- If there is anything that toddlers love to do, it is paint! Get some paint out and let your toddler get artistic.
20. Play with sensory bins- Want to keep that toddler of your busy? Build them a fun sensory bin like this Finding Nemo inspired sensory bin. Or simply fill a bowl with play sand!
21. Bubbles will do the trick- My kids have always loved to play with bubbles. It’s quit amazing how awesome bubbles can be to a toddler.
22. Play with the baby- When you are at a loss for something to do with your toddler, allow them to help with your newborn. Have them grab a diaper or anything else you may need.
23. Build a Fort- Get in touch with your inner child and built a fort or tent with your toddler and camp out just the three of you!
24. Watch their favourite show with them- Sometimes you don’t need to do anything with your toddler, but just watch a show with them. Never feel guilty about giving yourself a little break and allowing the television to help.
25. Utilize the iPad- When my kids were toddlers, iPads and tablets were life savers. Utilize technology as much as possible, especially when you have a newborn and still need to get laundry done, food on the table and other household tasks.
26. Have a playdate- A playdate might be the last thing you want to do, but it could also be the best thing. A little mom time plus a little playmate for your toddler can be good for the soul.
27. Let your toddler play alone- There is no rule book that says you have to play with your toddler all the time. If you need to care for your newborn, it’s okay if your toddler entertains themselves for a while.
28. Get out the play-dough- If there is one thing that your toddler can do while you care for your newborn, it is play-dough. Seriously, though, this stuff is gold and can be hours of fun.
29. Turn on the kitchen sink- Make sure the drain is open and just let your toddler play in running water for a bit. It’s AMAZING how much fun they can have just playing in just a trickle of water. Sometimes I’ve been known to give the newborn a bath in one half of the sink, while the toddler plays in the other half. Water tables also work wonders in the summertime and are a great investment. We have and love this pirate ship water table.
30. Phone time/Skype/Facetime- Toddlers love talking on the phone. Get them set-up talking to grandparents, aunts and uncles… anyone who would love a conversation with your little one.
Caring for a newborn and having a toddler can always be an interesting experience, but you can make it awesome. What I love about the activities is that my toddler can do some alone and some with me! The best things about toddlers is that they are slowly learning how to be independent. Newborns? Not so much!
Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!