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Help! WTD with a 1 and 3 year old inside all day?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

My DD is 2.75, and we watch her 16 month old cousin on Fridays.  The two of them are suddenly at a very bad age for freestyle play together.  DD is very involved in pretend play and gets extremely possessive over her play materials, since they're no longer just a toy, but some pretend thing that factors into her game.  Cousin's toy choice is entirely determined by what is in DD's hand.  I try to help my DD redirect her cousin by offering another toy, or remind her that cousin is little and will move on to a new toy in seconds, but I can see why my DD gets frustrated when toy after toy gets taken from her.  Anyway, I need some ideas for more structured play the two of them can do together without too much frustration.  We can't get outside for long, since cousin can't walk and won't have fun in the snow, and she's not cool with a carrier for long enough to take a good walk. I'm seeing a looooong day ahead of us. 

post #2 of 14
I may be off base but maybe part of the issue is that it's her stuff and she may feel more at ease if he wasn't butting in on her turf. Outside in the snow isn't fun for someone who isn't walking, but is there somewhere nearby you could take them that's indoors? In my neighbourhood there is a library, an early years centre and an elementary school that has a drop in program for kids under six. If it were me, I'd try one of these neutral places for an hour or two where lil cousin can crawl to his heart's content and there will be other toys and other kids to act as a buffer between them. If there isn't anything like that nearby then maybe you could get lil cuz to "help" you while DD plays in peace. At that age my DD loved anything non toy and she'd be entertained for 20 mins by handing me veggies to peel/cut for supper and then putting the ready pieces in a bowl. I just sat at the kitchen table with her in the high chair and it was a fun big girl thing for her while I got a little head start on supper. Depending on the day, I'd either keep cooking or just put the stuff in the fridge for when DH got home and I could cook without a monkey hanging off my leg. Good luck.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Having cousin help me is a good idea, and I will give it a try today. My DD was big into helping at that age, too, but little cousin is very different than my DD at the same age. I'm not sure she'll be into it. She also is totally obsessed with DD and wants to see her and be with her at all times. Once my parents took DD and cousin cried and called her name for hours greensad.gif.
post #4 of 14
Ah, it's a girl cousin. I don't know where I got the idea of a boy, sorry smile.gif.
It's so sweet that she loves your DD so much but it certainly makes things harder.
Let me know how it goes or if you come across other solutions.
post #5 of 14

How 'bout sensory bins (ya know, bin of dry rice or beans w/ scooping/pouring implements) or play dough for parallel play?  

post #6 of 14

How 'bout sensory bins (ya know, bin of dry rice or beans w/ scooping/pouring implements) or play dough for parallel play?  

 

sorry, double post weirdness...

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all the suggestions so far.  The day ended in stress-eating Chinese food, so I could definitely use some more suggestions for next week!

 

So, I think the biggest problem I'm having is finding ways to break up the day into zones.  Cousin is 17 months, but...she doesn't really act like how I remember my daughter acting at that age, and that makes me confused.  I always think of her as a perpetual 9 month old.  She's sweet as can be, and the most content child in the universe.  She NEVER asks for anything, and in terms of behavior, the problems are all with my DD.  But I feel like the problems I have with Cousin are part of what make DD agitated and sour on cousin day. 

 

Cousin comes in and systematically moves through the house taking every single piece of every single toy out.  The night before she comes, I squirrel away lots of toys so that there's less for her to spew about the house, but...wow.  It's still a huge mess.  And then she proceeds to entertain herself without complaint or need for company for hours by moving from toy to toy to toy back and forth from room to room, never sticking with anything for more than a second or two.  If I try to clean up so that we can focus on certain groups of toys at a time, they just come right back out.  So then, all of the toys are in play at one time, and it's just one looooooong undifferentiated "playtime" all day.  I can't handle that, and neither can my DD. 

 

When we try to read together, cousin is "all done" after a few pages, and tries to swat the book out of my hand, but my DD can sit through an hour of books at a time and still wants to read.  We have a very small house, so I can't really block off an area for my DD to play.  She is clingy and hates being alone, anyway.  I just feel like I remember DD having more discrete interests at that age.  She was learning her letters, she would help me unload the dishwasher, she was obsessed with trains, she loved taking care of her baby doll and pushing the stroller around... I just can't quite figure this little girl out. 

 

Oh, yeah, the sensory bins.  It's a really good idea, but I'm just not sure little cousin is ready for it.  For one, she doesn't really walk and I think she might fall in a bin because she generally needs at least one hand holding on to keep herself standing still.  Second, I tried her today with a pan of bubbly water with spoons to stir and scoop as a parallel activity while DD was in the tub, but she just....didn't get it. 

 

I'm wondering if my only option is to severely cull the toys and really only bring out a few at a time during the day.  I think that might result in a toy scarcity and exacerbate possession battles....

post #8 of 14
Would little cousin be happy to potter around, playing with toys while you read to DD? My LO doesn't just sit and listen to us reading either but she loves us to read while she plays with other toys.

I also like the PPs suggestions of parallel activities like play dough or stickers or painting. What about water play? Could they go in the bath together?

Before little cousin comes over could you and DD spend some time choosing a selection of toys especially for cousin to play with. You could put them in a box or basket and the DD could give them to cousin and tell her she picked them out for her.

You mentioned that DD is very into pretend play at the moment. Is there any way little cousin could be incorporated into that? Maybe as a patient, school student, child etc? Not sure if that is too sophisticated for their ages though. I'm thinking of your DD pretending that little cousin is part of the game but little cousin not having to actively participate, possibly to the point that LC doesn't actually know she's part of the game at all :-)
post #9 of 14
I would take them outside. I live in Alaska and my daughter had a great time in the snow last year before she could walk. We sledded, crawled around in the snow playing follow, made snow angles, threw snowballs for the dog and so on. Have you tried taking her in the snow? As long as you have good gear it is great. Also for the walk try towing her in a sled. It would give you a break from the house anyway.
post #10 of 14

Uggh, that sounds stressful.  I would definitely try going somewhere else at least part of the time to break up the day.  Don't know what you have around you, but sometimes an outing is just the thing!

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by katelove View Post

Would little cousin be happy to potter around, playing with toys while you read to DD? My LO doesn't just sit and listen to us reading either but she loves us to read while she plays with other toys.

I also like the PPs suggestions of parallel activities like play dough or stickers or painting. What about water play? Could they go in the bath together?

Before little cousin comes over could you and DD spend some time choosing a selection of toys especially for cousin to play with. You could put them in a box or basket and the DD could give them to cousin and tell her she picked them out for her.

You mentioned that DD is very into pretend play at the moment. Is there any way little cousin could be incorporated into that? Maybe as a patient, school student, child etc? Not sure if that is too sophisticated for their ages though. I'm thinking of your DD pretending that little cousin is part of the game but little cousin not having to actively participate, possibly to the point that LC doesn't actually know she's part of the game at all :-)

 

I used to do a reading time for DD like that.  I don't know why I didn't try it this week.  I'll have to do that:)  We actually do have two bins of toys upstairs that I usually rotate as the Cousin Toys. DD loves it when I take them down, but Cousin generally pulls them all out of the bin and is off like lightning to empty the fake fruit basket.  So sometimes I don't get them out anymore, as they just add to the general melee.  I'm not sure if I could incorporate Cousin into DD's play.  DD might find that funny if I could figure it out.  Her pretend play is kind of dreamlike and trippy at this point, so I'm not sure I could figure out the right role for cousin to play.  I'll give that some thought. 

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by akcowgirl View Post

I would take them outside. I live in Alaska and my daughter had a great time in the snow last year before she could walk. We sledded, crawled around in the snow playing follow, made snow angles, threw snowballs for the dog and so on. Have you tried taking her in the snow? As long as you have good gear it is great. Also for the walk try towing her in a sled. It would give you a break from the house anyway.


TBH, I'm not sure Cousin even HAS snow stuff.  I'll have to ask my sister.  I think part of my hesitance is worry that I'll spend 30 minutes getting them all in their snow gear and trundling them out the door only to find that Cousin does not like the snow.  That is sure to end up in DD having a fit because she wanted to stay outside and me having to somehow get my screaming flailing banshee into the house without her cousin getting squashed in the process.  But, assuming we have snow rather than mud by next week, I think if she has snow stuff I will have to give it a try.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sageowl View Post

Uggh, that sounds stressful.  I would definitely try going somewhere else at least part of the time to break up the day.  Don't know what you have around you, but sometimes an outing is just the thing!


Oh, I so wish we could!  I don't have a carseat for Cousin, so we can't drive anywhere.  And I only have an Ergo and a single stroller at my disposal for walks.  In winter gear the Ergo is kind of out of the running for my DD, and Cousin doesn't have much patience for the carrier.  Boo!  When DD was Cousin's age we went on both a morning and an afternoon outing every single day.  I can't stand staying at home just....playing!

post #14 of 14
Invite other moms over. Schedule a play date at your house. In some ways it's extra work, but if you know any Moms, adding another kid into the mix changes everything, and you get mom time.
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