I was just getting into a rhythm with my blogging schedule, having Chase in daycare, a few days a week. As an only child, it was actually more beneficial for him, for the socialization skills. Chase’s attention span is very short, even for his age. He is a busy toddler. One who loves physical activities, hands-on play, and being around other children. So, as you can imagine, it’s been a challenge, during this season of the Covid-19 Quarantine. Fortunately, my years as an Elementary School Teacher, helped me in preparing for these few weeks. So, now I’m sharing this with you: How to keep a busy toddler busy. At home!
Scott and I removed Chase from Daycare a few days before they closed, due to the Corona Virus. I knew having him home, around the clock, would be a challenge. Not only because of a new schedule. Chase is wildly active! He prefers being outdoors and around other children. (As most two year old boys do.) I was also worried that I would not be able to keep up with his energy.
When I say Chase has a short attention span, I mean SHORT for even his age. According to studies, a normal attention span is 3 to 5 minutes per year of a child’s age. Therefore, a 2-year-old should be able to concentrate on a particular task for at least 6 minutes. Chase will not sit still (let alone concentrate) for longer than 30 seconds. YES, I am exploring ways to help him with this. But, while on lockdown mode, I’ve been pulling out all sorts of ideas.
I’ve found that a schedule, including designated times of quiet, independent play, along with age-appropriate activities are most helpful in keeping a busy toddler busy, at home.
Heck, Chase may end up returning to daycare surprising his teachers with his new skills!
Toddler “All Day at Home” Schedule
For the past week, Scott has been working from home. It’s definitely been helpful. Although he doesn’t really have long periods of time to spend with Chase, during the work day. I created an “All Day at Home” schedule, so that Chase and I could get into a routine.
Obviously, my work is more flexible, so we work around Scott’s work schedule. I spend the majority of the morning with Chase. He and I do quiet activities, hands-on fine motor skill activities, and a lot of physical activities. (He needs it!) Thankfully, an afternoon nap helps to break up the busiest part of the day into two long blocks of time. Our schedule looks something like this.
8am Scott gives Chase Breakfast
9-11:30am* Mom and Me Time
2-5pm* Mom and Me Time (Scott spends whatever time he can, with Chase.) Dinner is prepared.
6-8pm More play time. (Usually wrestling with mom). Bath Time. Story Time
*Somewhere in that window is a 20 minute QUIET TIME period.
A few days before we pulled Chase from daycare, I told Scott that I wanted to work on Chase’s independent play time. Obviously, I would now have longer windows with him. I love playing with Chase and teaching him new things. But, 6-8 hours daily? That’s a bit much and not even healthy for an only child. So, I introduced Chase to QUIET TIME.
Twice a day, for about 20 minutes, I put Chase in his crib with a few quiet toys. (Mainly puzzles and books.) I switch it up every time. I also put on classical music or something to help him stay quiet to help him focus.
It took a few days to get used to it. And a few more before enjoying it. (It’s just like exercising and reading. Sometimes you have to do it regularly before doing it, so effortlessly.) I must say, this has been a life-saver, for me especially. I know Chase is benefitting by learning independent play. I also use this time to tend to house or work stuff.
Toddler Learning Activities
There are different types of activities. From physical, having no objectives (like playing outside or riding his bike)… to a learning activity in which I try to teach Chase some basic skills.
During this season of the Covid-19 Quarantine, we’ve been calling these Quarantivities!
Anyway, I gathered several hands-on activities. Some are more fun and require creativity. While others are more instructional so that I can work on Chase’s language and early development skills. (Alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.)
I will admit, it’s not easy. Chase is very quick to want to change gears. One thing I taught him, early on, was to put away a toy or activity, before we take out something new. It kind of slows down his rapid-fire change of direction. Still, I am lucky to get him to sit and do a learning activity for even a few minutes. Of course, this will improve with time. For now, I am monitoring his level of concentration.
Nevertheless, I have found some of these activities (Quarantivities) to be absolutely wonderful! Chase enjoys the play time. Having a play mate. (Even though I’m sure he would prefer someone much smaller.) And, having the freedom to show off his creative mind.