The other day, my two year old was really having a tough time making his voice heard. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle in our larger family and he was about fed up with it. Every question, comment and request came out as a holler at the top of his lungs. Usually, this means the little person is short on sleep and needs some quiet time and a nap asap.
Quiet time is usually a must in my household. I need it; the kids need it. Even though two of my four children don’t nap anymore and the two year old can even be a hit or a miss sometimes, every once in awhile I will allow one child to “miss” their quiet time and hang out with me.
I don’t do this very often, or else it becomes a whine-fest when quiet hour comes around, with all of them begging to get out of their required hour. But spending some laid back, one on one time with them during the day lets me be able to enjoy them without all their siblings pestering and competing for me.
This one on one time looks a bit different with each of my children. My oldest girl is content with just snuggling in next to me on the couch while she reads a book or we paint nails and chat. My oldest boy likes to follow me around the house and help out with chores or play with some of his big kid toys that he can’t play with when his younger brother is around. (Tiny Lego pieces and small puzzles, anyone?)
“Ok, let’s just call a time out right now,” I finally said when he had his millionth meltdown that day after I announced it was quiet time. I knelt down to him.
“You want to stay with mama and play today?” As I looked into my two year old’s tired eyes, I knew he really could have used a nap, but I decided some one-on-one mama time was in order for him. (And then an early bed time). ;0) His eyes lit up and he smiled brightly and hugged me.
When my first boy was younger, I scoured Pinterest for busy box and quiet time activities to keep him occupied and his little mind thinking, wondering and discovering. I had since retired those busy boxes when he grew out of needing them but I realized that my two year old might really benefit from some of the simpler activities. So I grabbed the pipe cleaners, chunky beads and pom poms from the busy box. I also gathered a cookie tray, an ice cube tray and a colander from the kitchen.
I placed the pom poms, beads and pipe cleaners on the cookie tray so they wouldn’t get lost and so we could see what we were working with. Then I got down on the floor with him and showed him the colander and how he could make a fun creature head by poking the pipe cleaners through the colander holes. After doing that for a while I showed him how to thread beads onto the pipe cleaners and poke them through the colander holes. Just the simple addition of the beads got him excited again. We talked about which pipe cleaners were longer and shich ones were shorter, and the different colors.
Next, I put a couple big handfuls of the pom poms in front of him with the ice cube tray and asked him if he could find all the blue ones and put them in an ice cube pod. Then we moved on to another color. He caught on right away and began sorting all the colors and shades. We talked about how colors can be dark or light and showed him examples. Then I quizzed him by asking to point to the light blue pom poms. I also played silly by calling colors by the wrong names and asking him to find the right ones.
When he began winding down with this activity, I brought out two measuring spoons and showed him how to scoop up a pom pom and carefully transfer it into another container. The pom poms would fall off at the slightest movement and he would have to start over but he thought it was a blast, and so did I.
Have you made time to play yet today?