Hi everyone -
I'm looking for some ideas for entertaining my 21 month old on our daily subway commute. It's about a 30-40 min ride and 12 minutes of walking. He's pretty good and I'm all for downtime but I'm afraid that I'm limiting him somehow - just a vague "am I doing something wrong" thought.
I am currently still carrying him - it's easier to carry than to use a stroller on a crowded subway plus I love it when he puts his little head on my shoulder.
We are getting to the point where I let him stand up on my lap (but I don't let him completely out) and we do a lot of letter games with the posters but I need some more ideas.
Books and toys and games are mostly future projectiles but maybe someone has some containment ideas for books and toys? I had a toy on a cord but he eventually got more interested in the cord attachment then the toy - works for me :)
I have an iPhone and am semi-open to the idea of some letter or number apps. But despite his obsession with the phone I do not regularly let him use it (I did when he was smaller - big mistake). He actually tries to push the buttons on posters with phone on them! I'm trying to hold off as long as possible on the screen time (he doesn't watch tv/movies yet) but he does look at a lot of books.
I guess I'm just feeling guilty that I have to take him on these daily rides and am looking for some way to make the time beneficial for him. Since I'm wearing him facing in we get some us time - but he predominately is looking around or I'm singing to him (every so quietly) or holding him on his back while he looks around (he loves that one - the other commuters sometimes not so much).
My 18 month old loves her magna doodle. She draws, then we take turns, etc. I saw small travel knockoffs at the dollars tore the other day - one of those could be small enough to take along and cheap enough to replace in case it gets busted/lost. It's very neat and self contained yet something creative. Could be worth a shot.
Ooooooooh - that is a great idea!!! Even if he tries and succeeds at tossing it I'm finding that people on the subway have been more than helpful and generous and would help me retrieve it. I almost never have to stand when I'm carrying him. It really surprised me when I started commuting with him in January but it's been really great.
I don't think you need to feel guilty, and it seems like he's not bothered by it so there's not actually such a problem here. Is he acting out or crying a lot during the rides or something? Also, I don't see why the time has to be beneficial or used for a greater purpose. Toddlers are very curious by nature and are perfectly capable of just taking it all in and learning naturally that way; we don't need to make any effort to teach them. I have been surprised lately how my 2 1/2 year old has been counting to ten. We purposely do not teach him the alphabet or letters or anything....he just notices and picked it up. Amazing! ...but that's actually how it works, most of the time.
Anyway if I understand your question you just need entertainment to pass the time. I often ride into the city with my son and I keep some small books in the diaper bag to pull out when he's getting antsy. Even a magazine with pictures (he especially loves looking at pictures of vehicles and kids or babies) will do. He is really into cars so we also carry a few little cars and those can distract him in a difficult moment. Also snacks....his favorites are apple slices, a banana or sesame spelt crackers. Or songs. Or just talking about what we see out the window.
Mama since 2010
Multicultural living in Europe
I'll second snacks... we have what I call "trolley snacks" that we use when we commute as well. My feeling is that a full mouth is never a fussy mouth. But I think the naturally emerging games within your environment (i.e posters, etc) are great. I babywear my LO too, who is younger but a super big kiddo, and it is SO MUCH EASIER than using a stroller... easier to get on and off the trolley, easier to handle the ticketing aspect of commuting, easier to manage who touches my kid, and I think it helps him learn the subtle signals of stranger danger when he is watching others and my facial expressions, etc...
A half hour is a fairly easy commute (that's about how long ours is too), but when you have a fussy toddler, it's a very, very long time. I like the magna doodle idea... and yes, strangers are surprisingly kind when you are carrying your baby in letting us sit, or helping to retrieve tossed items. I personally think that babywearing brings out the maternal instinct in every human.... or maybe I'm just in a good mood today.