sahming with preschooler and baby - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 09-12-2007, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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What do you do with the preschooler to keep him/her busy during the day while you care for the baby and get chores done? I am a sahm and I do most all the indoor chores during the week so we can have family time on the weekend. This summer, my poor 4 year old dd watched a lot of tv. We had dd #2 in June and I was just too tired and busy with her to really be a good mom to dd#1. Plus, dd#1 was happy playing in the playroom with the tv on. She rarely just sits and stares at the tv and it was mostly noggin or pbs, no commercials. But, still, now that dd#2 is 3 mos and I am better able to multitask, I want to do more with the 4 year old and get her busy. At home. So, what can I do? She has playdough and crayons and paints but prefers to play those with me. I can put the baby in a swing or sling and play with dd#1, but I would rather start her doing things on her own.

So, what can you recommend? What about work books like handwriting or letters? Any activities your preschoolers love to do on their own? Any craft books or websites you can recommend? She does have scissors and glue but still needs a lot of direction. She loves legos and blocks and has that already. What else can I get her.

How do you get preschoolers to be more independent when they really want to play with mommy? What do you say to them to get them to play independently without tv? I really want to wean her off of tv but need alternatives.

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#2 of 11 Old 09-12-2007, 05:32 PM
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If your dd was an only child for 4 yrs. and is used to mommy playing with her, it may be hard at first to get her to do things by herself. I've seen many moms do this- lots of outings and activities when they have one child, then they have another and find out it is harder to keep up that kind of schedule. The best advice I can give you is to work on getting your dd started on activities. Interact with her, give suggestions ,ie, why don't you draw a picture of the pretty tree outside our window, see, the leaves are starting to change color, which color crayons match the color of the leaves, etc. When my dc were small, we rarely put the tv on but I was willing to read them storybooks anytime. That is something you can do while paying attention to baby. Homemade playdough is fun, as is painting. Just buy the basic colors- yellow, blue , red, maybe black and white to lighten/darken the colors. Get a paint palette so she can mix her own colors and paint. Some children do like workbooks and want to do the whole book all at once. If you do get a workbook , tear out a page at a time so she doesn't go through the book and pull out what she wants at one time. If she is used to you sitting by her side while she paints/ does playdough, slowly wean her off of that. Keep her at the kitchen table while you do other tasks in the kitchen. If you plan to send her to school, she won't be able to have the teacher's attention and approval all the time. Teach her to help you with your everday tasks. Not everything has to be play related, emphasize that you need her help and let her help as much as she can. In the long run
it is easier to integrate her into your daily life and tasks than for you to have your daily life child-centered and focused only on activities for the children.
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#3 of 11 Old 09-12-2007, 07:24 PM
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I have a 10 mo and almost 4yo. They need time w/ you to be able to play on their own. I know it's hard. We struggle w/ the tv issue as well. We watched 1-2 hr per week before ds #2 now it's 1 hr day limit, if it's a hard day for me 2hrs. Not what i want. I find that the chores just have to wait. I make sure our clothes are clean & we have meals but that's it. The house will be a bit dirtier for a few years. I just can't do it all & i find I must spend time w/ ds#1 during ds#2's naps in order for him to be by himself for a few minutes.

I also have my mother come over 1x wk to break things up for me. She will either make dinner for us, or play w/ ds or we all go do the grocery shopping together. It helps a lot. I f i had a teenageri trusted in the neighborhood i would hire one to play w/ ds#2.

It's very hard. SOme activities ds#2 does, sticker books, painting, coloring. puzzles. Pretend play w/ silks, dress up, wooden people sets he pretends w/.
New library books help, library books on CD are great too, there is a cue, for the child to turn the page.
hugs to you
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#4 of 11 Old 09-12-2007, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. The problem is that she will play on her own with the tv on and whines a lot and follows me and gets in my hair with it off. So either I need to just let her figure it out and maybe she will stop whining or maybe I need to stop worrying about the tv. I do play with her but use the tv for when I need a break (not often) or have chores to do or baby to take care of. As baby ages, I know they will play together but rainy season is coming up soon and that will make it even harder. Of course, next year, baby will be one and she will be in K so this is only one year of her life.
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#5 of 11 Old 09-12-2007, 10:05 PM
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I have a very busy 3 yr old dd and an 8mo old ds. Some days, it is really very difficult to feel that I'm giving them both all that they need and deserve.

I have found that I can best give dd what she needs while ds sleeps, so I try really hard to ensure his morning nap happens around the same time every day. That's no small feat, as I am as far from a scheduler as you can get, lol.

I try to mix it up. Some days, we sit at the table and color with markers or make a small craft. Other times, I ask dd to "read" a story to me while I clean or do laundry. She likes to help with unloading the dishwasher and sweeping, and the other day, I let her stand on a stool at one sink and play in the water while I washed some pans in the other. The baby was awake then, but he was playing happily right behind us on a blanket on the kitchen floor.

Soon, he'll be mobile, and our lives will turn upside down for a while.

I also had the problem with too much TV. DD even figured out how to open the doors of the entertainment center, turn everything on, put in a DVD, and use the remote to start it!!! I had to put childproof locks on the doors. It's not attractive, but it works.
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#6 of 11 Old 09-13-2007, 04:29 AM
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Two words - Mother's Helper.

I had help with my girls when they were at that age. They are 2 years, 4 months apart. Having an extra set of hands meant that I could have one-on-one time with each child and also some time to myself when needed.
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#7 of 11 Old 09-13-2007, 05:33 AM
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This will very possibly get me in trouble, and will probably sound harsher than I mean it, but here's my opinion. Your oldest is having a hard time adjusting and sometimes you are just going to have to let her whine. She will adjust but she's got to learn that she's not your only child and that you can't spend every minute with her. If you aren't comfortable with the tv on , then don't turn it on. If she whines, ignore her. Explain to her that she can't whine, but that sometimes she is going to have to play by herself, that you have to take care of other things.

The other posters had good ideas, too. Encourage her in her tasks, let her help you where possible, and let her be in the same room with you when you can. I have three kids and I homeschool, so I do understand where you're coming from. Honest. One thing that seems to help is that at bedtime, I read a story to each of the kids and during that time, the other one (the baby doesn't get a story yet) is not allowed to interrupt or be in the bedroom. So each day my oldest daughter gets at least a few minutes just me and her and my son does, too. When we had just the two I would also try and do things with my oldest while my son was sleeping. Not necessarily the whole time he was sleeping, but at least some time. I have found that often just 10 minutes a day of pure one-on-one time is often enough to hold back the whines. And every once in a while, go out and do something without the baby.

Just thought of something else. If she whines and gets in your hair with the tv on, but you want to cut out the tv (or cut back or whatever) try either music or audio books. I know our public library has a decent sized selection of audio books. Might be worth checking out.

Hang in there. It will get easier and better.

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#8 of 11 Old 09-16-2007, 12:50 AM
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I have 4.5yo twin boys, a 2.5yo girl, and I'm due with another girl in October. I've found the best way to foster creative play in my house is to leave the TV off. We are not a TV-free family, but when the TV is off, my kids find things to do. Dh gets a lot of deliveries from his job, and they spend a lot of time playing with boxes. They have a play room, and if I send them in there to "clean" they'll inevitably start reading or playing with legos or something. Also, I bought some preschool workbooks from the grocery store and if I leave those out, the kids will gravitate toward them and start coloring or something.

Also, your dd will get the hang of not being an only child after a while. My twins were MAD when I brought dd home, and I wonder how my dd will do when #4 is born, but it will all work out.

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#9 of 11 Old 09-16-2007, 12:58 AM
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They have a play room, and if I send them in there to "clean" they'll inevitably start reading or playing with legos or something.
Oh, that is so sneaky. I love it! Whenever I tell DS to pick up his toys, he suddenly becomes engrossed in playing with them. I never thought to use this to my advantage.
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#10 of 11 Old 09-16-2007, 03:39 PM
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My almost 4 yo, as well as my 15 month old really like "helping" me around the house. Granted, it takes longer, but they work/play.I get stuff done. They have childsize vacuum, brooms, they help dust, etc. They do this on their own though, and usually they will toddle off and find tehir own work (play) to do.

We also spend lots of time outside, and try to go to the park when the weather is nice.

I think your 4 yo is old enough to understand a limit to the tv. Can you limit?

One more thing, music!! We listen to music most of the day ~ it really sets the tone and my almost 4 yo loves to sing the words and dance.......nice kids music.

babys up , gtg, gl

  homeschooling, earth loving Mama to 3 crazy, wonderful boys, ages 10 & 7, & 3 mos.,3 spirit babies                                Inch by inch, row by row.  Gonna make this garden grow  
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#11 of 11 Old 09-17-2007, 10:04 PM
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My kids are similar ages and I know what you are going through. There's nothing like feeling that you can't give either child all that they need :
I am slowly realizing the danger in having specific expectations for the day. Some days are great, some are just good, some horrible and some are all three. Some days I let ds watch too much tv and some days its off for the whole day and we read. I guess my point is that we are ever evolving creatures and while something may be a real struggle at the moment that it won't likely stay that way. There will be new ones to take its place

P.S. I realized about halfway through your thread who you are and that you posted on my thread today (and you were hugely helpful). Thanks again
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