I made a goal recently to spend more time with Red Chief. I want to sit down and do things with him, go out and play with him, really pay attention to him. My former strategy of keeping him busy while I got the work done just wasn't working; I needed to work with him.
I thought the first day I started focusing more on Red Chief that I would be tired, bored, and that nothing would get done around the house. I'm so happy that I was wrong!
Now that I focus more on Red Chief and less on myself and the housework, we're both happier. I'm no longer driven crazy each day by the antics of a toddler constantly vying for my attention. Red Chief is learning new things, and I'm enjoying the spontaneity of spending time with a toddler.
Yesterday, we painted with watercolors. Instead of setting him up, running away to do the dishes, then coming back and scolding him for drinking the water and painting his pants, I sat down with him. He painted three pages and was thrilled when I painted his name at the bottom of one. He even named most of the letters correctly for me.
He wanted "ABC soup" for lunch at 10:00, so I told him he could help me make some. I chopped the carrots and potatoes, and he (very slowly, two at a time) transferred them into the pot for me. We talked about the ingredients and he really enjoyed pouring the pasta into the pot at the end.
While I worked in the kitchen, Red Chief played with cookie cutters and transferred the contents of a few cupboards onto the floor. He squished a few cookie cutters beyond recognition and made a huge mess, but I decided not to make a big deal out of it. After all, I have far too many cookie cutters anyway, and the mess really only took five minutes to clear up after he was in bed for his afternoon nap.
Anyway, my point is that we're both happier when I focus more on my son. It's not all about me: it's about him (just ask him!). When I bow to the attention that toddlerhood demands, there are fewer uncontrolled messes (no flooded sink this week!), more smiles and learning, and more love.
I've been collecting ideas lately for activities to do with Red Chief. Here are some that I have tried and want to try soon:
- Tailor of Gloucester spinner
- Indoor "sandbox"
- Caillou paper dolls
- Paper doll chains
- Alphabet pasta salad
- Alphabet cookies
- Car creations
- Activities from the Friend magazine
- Peter Rabbit online games (look for the "Find Peter" game)
Since the attention span of a two-year-old is so short, I'm always looking for more ideas. What do you do with your young children? How do you incorporate them into your daily tasks?