DS is 23 months and, if I let him, could tear up our house in 30 seconds flat. He is very social, loves watching the big kids, and being outside. However, I work full-time out of the house, and on weekends I try to use a good chunk of the time to get things done. I try to take him to the park, but I can't take him out all day long, and at least one day a weekend we stay in because I clean and DH works on renovating 1/3rd of our house (which we are doing ourselves and is a big stressor in my life right now). I'm looking into enrolling him in gymnastics, but our big issue is how to manage him on days we stay home.
DS does not really play independently and if I am busy doing something like cleaning (or attempting to set up our Christmas decorations, like yesterday) it becomes a NIGHTMARE. He gets into what I'm doing, messes it up, constantly fusses, or...his new thing, asking to eat every 30 seconds. I can't get it done. I know a lot of it is boredom/attention-seeking, but he doesn't really play with his toys and would rather empty out the drawers/cabinets in our house and carry random things throughout the house- he is easily entertained by that!
I feel terrible because, when this occurs, I get so flustered and stressed since I am trying to get things done, and I know he senses it and then his behavior heightens. Due to ongoing renovations, our house is a disorganized MESS and in order to maintain my sanity I have to at least clean. I am 22 weeks pregnant and very irritable and tired. I try my best not to yell because I know it's not his fault, but he ends up spending a lot of time in time-out since I feel it's my only way I can gain any control over his tendency to tear up the house, and by the end of the day I just feel horrible. I limit TV, but I know if I put him in front of Elmo's World for 3 hours I'd get everything done w/o a problem...but I'm not willing to do that. I'd love another method.
The one thing that semi-worked for this same issue when I cook was to let him stand on a chair and "help", which entails emptying out our drawers and banging the spoons and pots. He loves it and I can cook without him screaming at the baby gate. Not sure how to incorporate this into a day of organizing or cleaning.
Any ideas? DH is very hands-on but there's a lot going on inside our house right now, and it is usually me watching DS when DH is renovating, so on the days when I have to do something, it has to get done or it won't!
Do you have any friends or friend's older children who could entertain him on the weekends for a couple of hours so that you can get your work done?
Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds 10yo dd 8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds
Can you give some specific tasks that you're trying to get done and we can help brainstorm companion activities? I have a few up my sleeve - cleaning the bathroom while DD takes a bath, setting her up at the kitchen sink while I either prep a meal or clean the kitchen, having her use her little vacuum or the light saber (her "vacuum wand") while I vacuum...
Also, if it's a matter of getting energy out, I've started setting up obstacle courses for DD similar to the ones they do in her gymnastics class. She LOVES it.
My DS is also super high energy. We're recently screen-free (for him, I'm obviously at a screen right now), and it has made a HUUGE difference in his ability and willingness to play independently. We didn't even watch that much before, maybe one or two 30 minute shows a day, but even that would send him into a mode where he was bored and clingy and desperate for my attention.
Also, he got a trampoline with a handle for his birthday and it is WONDERFUL for when he needs to be super active.