It can be hard facing a long day with a frustrated baby. He wants to crawl – but can’t. He wants to walk – but can’t. He wants to eat EVERYTHING – but can’t. So what can you do to keep baby entertained all day? Here’s 5 things that have worked for me (I hope it helps!)
1 – Toys, books and gadgets
It’s the obvious thing granted but get the toys out. If you’re anything like us the toys will be taking over every inch of your home by now; we seem to have it all – the play mat, the jumperoo, the bumbo seat, a rocking horse, a blow-up ring…the list is endless. But hey, if you’ve got it, use it. I see it like a gym training circuit, each toy giving between 5 and 15 whole minutes of entertainment – and then we start again! One of baby’s current favourites is his Bright Starts sit and see safari play mirror – he just loves to see his little pal!
2 – Playgroups/baby groups
Some people love ’em and some people hate ’em. Me? Personally, I love a playgroup. They get you up and out as well as giving mummy some adults to talk to (even if all you ever talk about is baby!) If your baby is anything like mine, one of two things will happen upon arrival – a) he’s sleeping, b) he’s hungry – but once awake and full he loves learning to interact and mingle with the other tots.
3 – Baby cinema
I’ve been to two different baby cinema’s now with F; and I enjoyed both times. First, I went to see Bridget Jones Baby when F was about 6 weeks old. In that cinema (Broadway, Nottingham) it was slightly annoying that you had to park your pram in a separate room due to the space inside the scening room (when everyone was trying to leave it was like pram wars!) However, F was marvellously behaved! He was small enough to sleep on my knee, wake up for a quick feed and bum change and back off to sleep – lovely!
I was a little more dubious about how our second time would go (having flashbacks to my first experience, where I watched mums with older babies pacing the aisle and trying to entertain their little alert people). F was now 5 months old, we went to The Showcase Cinema, Nottingham, to see Sing! The venue was fantastic (and only £5 a ticket for the baby cinema) – reclining leather chairs and mountains of room between rows meaning that the car seat and changing bag could easily fit in front of you with space left over. And F? Well, he was surprisingly – good! I think the fact that the film was animated, colourful and full of singing helped F to engage (slightly) and watch small sections of the film with me. We had the inevitable bum change, about 20 minutes of fussing and a couple of feeds but basically we made it through unscathed – and we will be back.
4 – Walking/exercise
It may seem like nothing, but a walk to the local shop or round the duck pond is actually a great way to engage baby (or get them to nod off and rest!) F loves sitting in his pram watching the world go by; I often find myself wondering what’s going on in his mind when he sees the trees, birds, sky… Plus, if you go out walking regularly, it will get baby into good habits and then (hopefully) they’ll still enjoy it when tottering round on their own little legs. A bit of fresh air never did anyone and harm, did it?!
Baby Pilates was a great class that I took F too. Granted, he didn’t do much in terms of exercise (he was basically my weights!) but doing something together did help ease me back in the swing of things; as well as taught me how to incorporate F into my fitness routine. It becomes something you do together – he thinks it’s hilarious watching mummy try to do a push-up just to give him a kiss!
Not to mention swimming…
5 – Bathtime fun
Although bath time is at the end of the day, for us anyway, that doesn’t mean there’s no fun to be had. There are so many bath toys out there to play with – but even they aren’t really necessary! Splashing, singing, bubbles, even skin-to-skin, can all form part of a fun bath time (as well as aiding in using up all that energy before bed!)
I often feel like I’ve ‘wasted’ a day with baby, or I’ve not done enough to keep him stimulated. So, I guess it’s good to remember every now and then that not only are there all these things to do with baby (much more than I can list here), but that lots of the time you end up doing these things without even thinking about them. I, like so many mummies and daddies, need to remind myself every now and again that even talking to baby whilst changing his nappy is helping him to learn and develop – so not to beat myself up.