I am hoping for new ideas about keeping my 3yo son busy so I can help my 11mo son take his naps. For a while I was able to set my 3yo up with books and a snack or a toy that we only play with when baby is sleeping or a new toy/activity but now he is not having any of it. He throws a fit and starts screaming for snacks and a story and a jump in the bed and a whatever-he-can-think-of to keep me and my other son from disappearing into the bedroom. If I can find a good time to leave my 3yo old on his own with an activity, it usually doesn't keep him interested long enough for my baby to get to sleep and he bursts into the room and ends in all of us being upset. OR he climbs the counters to get my ipod to play Netflix videos. It's almost been a month now and I've resorted to allowing him to watch Netflix just so I can get my baby to sleep without upsets but now when my baby wakes midway through his nap for nursies and a snuggle, I have the same issue with keeping my 3yo occupied. If baby doesn't get back to sleep, he's a bear. He takes 2 naps a day so I am allowing WAY more tv time that I am comfortable with. It was a slippery slope once I started allowing the Netflix just a little. I need a new approach, I'm open to anything!!
Can you create a routine of laying baby down that the 3yo can help with?
Or you can look up "Montessori activity bags" or "travel bags for preschoolers" to create bagged activities for him (obviously remove the bag before leaving him with the activity).
Is there something he's fascinated with? Do you have a blackboard wall that he can paint with water?
Definitely create activities and use some toys/resources that are ONLY during baby's nap time (we have the same problem with road trips).
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Nap time is bad here too. 2,5 y/o DD gets jealous and wakes her sister right back up. So I resorted to packing them all up and going for a walk - baby in the stroller sleeping and big sis on the buggy board or walking. I have been cutting back on TV too as it has gotten far out of hand. DD1 seems to be fine but it is a struggle on some days.
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
We have the same problem over here! DS, 2 yrs, 9 months, hates it when I go put DD, 9 months to bed for her naps. He too will do anything to keep me from doing so, especially for her afternoon nap. I've resorted to using "high-chair time": he can have whatever toys he wants while buckled in the very sturdy high-chair. Usually it's play-dough, mixed up with trucks, trains, the garlic press, plastic cookie cutters, etc., while listening to a CD of his choice. While it doesn't always work, it does create order from the chaos and functions as quiet time for him as well. I usually even leave him there after she's asleep so I can have quiet time to, usually right next to him, but still! When he absolutely refuses to get in the high-chair, I can sometimes nurse DD to sleep while standing and rocking her in a blank section of hallway while watching DS play, but, as she's more and more distractable, it's working less and less often.
As for DS waking up DD, I have white noise running loudly, keep the door shut and have even gated the bedroom door so DS really has to try and get in, and I can usually catch him before he gets to her.
It stresses me out just thinking about the struggle it sometimes can be !