When I got pregnant, Erwin and I knew we wanted to be Gio’s main care takers. Of course Erwin works, 6 days out of the week right now, but I’m with Gio everyday. When I’m not with him, meaning I’m most likely in school for 1 to 3 hours than Erwin is with him.
Sometimes being home all day with a baby/toddler can be challenging. Yeah, we go to the park, library, and I used to take him to his gym class but all those activities aren’t necessarily all day kind of things. And honestly, sometimes I just don’t want to go out.
Gio is very active. He’s constantly on the move, which explains how he’s getting so strong, and always wants to be doing something. So, staying home can be a little bit of a challenge sometimes. Babies/toddlers get bored, so now what? They eat and sleep, but what about when all that is over and done with? What do you do with such a little person who still might not even know how to cruise around yet?
1. Practice new skills
Can be tummy time, rolling over, touching their feet, crawling, clapping, standing, and where I’m with Gio right now, walking. I would practice for as long as he was up to doing so, and I don’t force too much out of him either.
For example, right now he can take a few steps but then just falls. He’s really scared to walk, so I don’t force him to because he will eventually get really upset. I’m going at his pace.
2. Sit and play
Recently Gio notices the difference when he plays alone and when he plays with someone. He puts the biggest smile one when you sit and play with him. He’s into cars and balls, so we’re usually passing those around
3. Dance, dance, dance
It seems to be Gio’s new hobby. He’s ready to get up once he hears the song Despacito by Luis Fonsi. He’ll hold onto my hands facing me and start to “dance”. He’ll walk around, bounce, even sway but he’ll dance until he’s tired and then crawls away. If your little one isn’t standing yet, hold them or dance sitting down. Babies love music and movement. I would dance bachata around the room when Gio was so tiny and he seemed to love it.
4. Teach them something new
New words, new letters, new numbers, how to pick up their head, how to find their toes or mouth, how to use a sippy cup or bottle on their own. Right now I’m teaching Gio three letters (ABC) and threee numbers (123). Don’t overwhelm them with too much information either. It can get confusing
Coloring not only stimulates their creativity but also helps with their motor skills, prepares them for school (’cause they’ll definitely be doing A LOT of it there), it helps teach them colors, it can help with their handwriting, and it helps with your hand and eye coordination. And like it can be for adults, it helps them express themselves and maybe even release stress too.
For Gio I have the jumbo crayons by Crayola. They’re bigger and supposedly harder to break, so I think they’re perfect for him. I introduced them to him when he was 9 months- yes, they were headed straight for his mouth but we kept practicing. Now, he puts them right on the paper and will scribble for a little. It’s not the biggest distraction for him yet but it does seem to interest him a lot.
6. Build something
Small or big, doesn’t matter. Use blocks, legos, cups, blankets and pillows, just build something together. A fort maybe? Help them find the door into their imagination and be amazed by how big a kids imagination can be! Right now I have blocks that on one side have numbers, on another is letters, the other is pictures, and the last side is actually a piece of a puzzle. Gio likes it when we stack them up and he laughs each time he knocks it down.
7. Play with bubbles!
Either inside or outside. Bubbles amaze kids so much, and gets them moving! Gio follows them around like crazy.
8. Sit with them to watch their favorite show/movie
Something so simple makes them so happy, and you can probably answer a lot of questions they might about their show/movie. If they answer wrong to a question that a character asked, help teach them the correct one. It’s a good chance to steal some snuggles too.
I started reading to Gio when he was a newborn and he still lets me read 2-3 books to him daily. Reading is both entertaining and educational. It may be silly to read to such a tiny baby, but it’s a great habit to install in them from early on. It teaches them about communication and listening skills. Reading also helps build their vocabulary and helps them memorize things. Also, you keep teaching them new concepts like letters, numbers, animals, or bigger things like sharing and importance of family!
10. Let them explore
If your baby is tiny, sit them by a window and let them look outside or let them watch you while you clean- if they let you! If your little one is cruising around on their own, crawling or walking, let them explore around and you supervise. Gio likes exploring the house, crawling under the table, through chairs, from the room to the bathroom, etc.! It’s helped him remember where specific things are and helps him be aware of his surroundings as well. While he explore I explain to him where he is and the importance of each room.
11. Arts & Crafts
Put paint on their tiny feet and let them stomp on a piece of paper or you can stamp their little feet onto something like a bear or frame. Grab a few items and put together a master piece! It’ll be a piece of art that you’ll treasure more than any other.
If your little one is tiny that’s ok! Create something for your boyfriend, parents, in-laws, siblings, friends using their little hands and feet- there’s safe paint to use and so many cute ideas! If your child is older, teach them how to use glue, let them cover the paper with stickers, and put glitter everywhere! Making arts and crafts has so many benefits like coloring, and they’re always excited to share their masterpiece that they become so proud of!
12. Plant something
A flower, a fruit, a vegetable! Check on it daily to see progress and explain to them how it works. Let them give it water so they feel engaged with the plant. Teach them about what you’re planting- they’ll grasp onto informtation and do their best to rephrase it to you. Keep doing it every year and each year give them more information than from the year before.
Other things I haven’t tried, but will once Gio is just a tiny bit older are the following:
17. Put away food, clothes, etc.
Those things are considered chores, but 1. it’s good to start at an early age to teach your kids the importance of having good habits, being clean, and being productive. 2. It helps them feel good about themselves when they see that they’re actually helping you in something. 3. It teaches them the how to be responsible and the value of work. Of course when they’re so tiny they can’t do much, but maybe they can help you carry some clothing items from the dryer to the basket or help you pour milk into your cookie batter- you’d be surprised how happy and how proud of themselves they become. They’ll be happy when you say come help! Don’t forget to tell them how they did a good job- VERY important.
I hope this helps give some of you ideas on what to do at home with your little ones! If you have any more suggestions, please let me know! I’d like to give them a try 🙂