How to Tire Out a Toddler

Parents everywhere want to know how to tire out a toddler. If you have a toddler in your home, you can attest to their boundless energy, and endless excitement for life. Some of the ideas that I share in my popular post 10 Indoor Activities That Tire Kids Out may be beneficial to you as well, but when it comes to toddlers, I have a few more things that work wonderfully.

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How to Tire Out a Toddler

The toddler stage is one of my favorite stages because it seems like their brains are on fire and learning so much every day. It is also because of this stage that I think toddlers can really wear out their parents, or care givers.

Getting Fresh Air

Getting out in the fresh air always induces sleep for myself and my children. Spending at least an hour outside a day, especially before nap time or bed time will help to encourage your toddler to get their energy out and breathe fresh airs.

There is something about fresh air that can really make a person feel relaxed and still energized. I don’t have any scientific reasons why, but a trip to the park or on the swing in the back yard has always been a wonderful way to tire out a toddler in our house.

Some of the other fun activities I have done with my toddlers outside have been:

  • bouncing or kicking a ball
  • blowing bubbles
  • riding a toy bike
  • going for a walk
  • learning to hop or skip
  • playing tag
  • chasing the dog
  • hop scotch

Exercise

Most kids get plenty of exercise, especially if they are doing any of the things outside that I just listed. However, I have found that my toddlers love to do exercise videos with me. They only make it through about 5 minutes, but to their little bodies that is a lot.

Other forms of exercise that will tire out a toddler is jumping jacks, head and shoulders, wind mills, running in circles around the house, and climbing the stairs.

We have always allowed activities in our house that some parents don’t allow, but as our children get older we tend lessen the activities or send them outside to get their energy out.


Music

When our oldest was a toddler, she hated to do naps and bedtime. I don’t think we would have survived her toddler years without the aid of music.

Depending on the music, it can aid your child to relax, and begin to settle down in order for sleep to come to them. They may sing for a while before falling asleep, but I would allow it for a time because it does help them relax.

This has been our experience with our daughter and on of our sons. In fact, my daughter still uses music in her adulthood to go to sleep if she isn’t able to fall asleep on her own.


Reading to Them

I read to my younger two before nap time, while I was weaning them and it was such a precious time for them and me. It often allowed my cuddles to relax them, while listening to my rhythmic voice reading softly to them.

Our favorite book is the Big Book for Babies, and is perfect for the toddler age. The pictures are adorable, and the poetry is short. It is obvious it has been a favorite book during that age, because it is falling apart on us.

Bathtime

It was hard for me to believe just how relaxing bath time could be for a toddler, until I tried it myself. Once I got our children out of the tub, and dressed for bed, you could always see a change in their behavior and a shift in their attitude.

Moms know the power of a relaxing bath, but don’t forget it works on toddlers, too!

I have been known to have music playing in a tub to aid in relaxing, so don’t forget to try this if you toddler needs to use several of these ideas.

Lavender Oil

I love lavender oil so much to help me fall asleep. I need it myself, as a sleeping aid, but it is powerful on toddlers, too. My favorite lavender oil is Counting Sheep roll on oil for kids. It is easy to apply, and really helps a restless toddler to fall asleep easier.

This is an oil that I don’t like to run out of… EVER!

As difficult as the toddler stage is on parents, I can’t stress enough how fast this time goes. I really encourage these steps to how to tire out a toddler because it engages the parents with the child, and promotes a calming environment for them to thrive in while learning healthy habits of sleep.


You may also enjoy my post, 10 Indoor Activities that Keep Kids Quiet

10 Indoor Activities that Keep Kids Quiet | www.joyinthehome.com

How to Implement Book Time for Toddlers

 

Book time has always been an important part of our home routines.  All four of our children have had a time when ‘quiet' book time was a required part of the day.  This usually became obvious during the two-five years of age when the child seems to go from one thing to the next and I needed a time to refresh. I know how beneficial this time has been for my children, so I wanted to help you learn how to implement book time for toddlers.

How to Implement Book Time for Toddlers | www.joyinthehome.com

How to Implement Book Time for Toddlers

I needed quiet time in my afternoons, especially after my children stopped taking naps. I quickly found that quiet book time was the answer to my own need for some quiet time, and with a few important steps in place, it was easy to implement and my children all came to enjoy it.

How to Implement Book Time for Toddlers - Learn tips that work to teach your child to enjoy quiet time with a book each day. | www.joyinthehome.com

  • Create an area where the child can freely get books, with lots of pictures of animals, letters, numbers and children their age
  • Set a timer for 5-15 minutes (or less when first starting) and work your way up to 30 minutes – telling the child that when the alarm goes off their book time is done
  • Praise them for accomplishing the goal of ‘quiet' book time
  • Ask them what they learned in the book and give them some time to ‘tell' you what they looked at

Be sure to allow your child the opportunity to pick their own books, out of approved ones and be responsible for this time. Children as young as one will quickly learn to give their full attention to their books of their choice until they hear the timer. I always used this time to teach them how to pick up their books and put them where they belonged.

Here is what I did during the ‘quiet' book time:

  • Showers – oh the joy of a private shower
  • Dinners or other baking
  • Read a book myself
  • Other work
  • Talked with Daddy or a friend

 

 

 

I always found that when my children learned this important part of their day, they demonstrated key things that I contributed to these times. To learn more Why Toddlers Need Book Time, read my post…

Why Toddlers Need Book Time - Learn why it is important to add book time to a toddler's day. | www.joyinthehome.com

Why Toddlers Need Book Time

Long before we decided to homeschool, we ensured that our first child has plenty of books at her disposal at any time of the day. I'm not sure why I made that conscious effort to secure many different kinds of book all those years ago, but the benefits that I saw made me realize why toddlers need book time, too, and why I stick by it.

Why Toddlers Need Book Time - Learn why it is important to add book time to a toddler's day. | www.joyinthehome.com

Why Toddlers Need Book Time

As I was expecting our first child, all those many years ago, I knew that a bookshelf was going to be a permanent fixture in our home, and I have held to it more than 20 years. I have had the books cleaned off in matter of seconds, and the job of putting them back up again and again, but I knew that these books at my children disposal was very important, long before the proof showed up in the pudding.

When I found out I was expecting our fourth child, almost seven years ago, I headed to yard sales and used sales to replace the board books, and toddler selections for my shelves after I had given them all away to my nieces and nephews.

This is a picture of our youngest when he was just two, and very much loving the ability to have book time any time of the day.

Why Book Time is Important for Toddlers & Preschoolers www.joyinthehome.com

Over these years, I have learned so much about the benefits just by watching my four children fill their days with all kinds of books, and here is what I learned.

Part of Learning

Book are everywhere and for most of their lives will be the source of much of their learning. Teaching toddlers to love books, being read to them and enjoyed on their own at an early age will give them a head start in this part of learning. Giving them books that have alphabets, numbers, colors, shapes, people, animals, flowers, plants and things that they see in their daily lives in and out of the house, will build their knowledge and help with the beginning stages to reading.

Builds Independent Creativity

Books are where ideas comes from, which is really important to building independent creativity in them. The kinds of books that will help with this will have people (children and adults) doing things, like building with blocks, playing with puppets, riding bikes, drawing, fixing cars, cooking dinner, grocery shopping or playing with others. Children learn through the ideas that are displayed before them and when they see something that sparks their imagination, they then can turn that idea into independent creativity by emulating what they see in the books. They already do this with what they hear and see others doing within their home, out of the house and on television.

Creates Motivated Learners

When they gather ideas from books and their creativity beings to flourish, it is then that motivation is created. They will then be inspired to practice new ideas that they have on their own or will begin to be interested in other things because they have found out they exist. I love allowing my children to browse sections of the library to see what sparks new ideas that become the things that motivate them.

It is these reasons why we should incorporate book time into our toddler's days.  I would also encourage you to have an area of books that they can use at any time of the day and encourage them to spend a few minutes looking at books of their own.  My children have always loved having their own book time.


If you like this post, you would also like How to Implement Book Time for Toddlers

How to Implement Book Time for Toddlers | www.joyinthehome.com

 

How to Teach Your Toddler to Pick Up Their Toys

Having a young child in your home means you have toys scattered in every room all day long!  It can be a tiresome task to keep on top of the toys, especially if you are the only one picking up the mess. You will love these proven steps to teach your toddler to pick up their toys.

How to Teach Your Toddler To Pick Up Their Toys - These tips would also work with older children. | www.joyinthehome.com

How To Teach Your Toddler To Pick Up Their Toys

This training starts best when a toddler first starts to walk, since they naturally think it is play.

  • I hand my toddler a toy that he played with and ask him to help me put it back.  All that he needs to do is ‘drop' it in the bin. (Hint… this is the stage when babies LOVE to drop things, so it works PERFECTLY to add training to this natural stage of childhood!)
  • I introduce the Clean Up song to him, as I start training the next stage. All my kids loved this song!
  • Once the ‘dropping training' is concrete and he knows to drop it in the toy bin when I hand it to him, I begin the ‘get it stage' training.  (This stage can last a long time before it is concrete, so be patience and consistent!) How it works is, you tell him to go get his ball and put it away, go get your truck and put it away, etc. Children do not see individual items on the ground, they only see a collection of things. If you don't believe me, as your child to go get something in the middle of a mess.  Many times it can be RIGHT AT THEIR FEET and they can't see it.  It overwhelms their senses and have a hard time concentrating.  It does take some time to train them in this step, but if you continue to train them, you can have a child of the age of 3-4 who can completely pick up their room on their own, IF YOU DO THIS DAILY…. OR BEFORE GETTING SOMETHING ELSE OUT. (I have made these bold for a purpose.  As a big mess overwhelms us, it is only fair to train your toddler with small jobs, not waiting until it is such a mess that you don't even want to do it.)
  • The next step is the freedom step to parents and one worth the work you put into it to get here.  At this stage, all you need to say is “It is time to clean up your trucks or your blocks.”  Even if they have more than one kind of toy on the ground, the child will be able to scan through the mess of scattered toy and only pick out the trucks, putting them back where the trucks belong.  Then they can pick up their blocks, and put them back in the rightful place.
  • I always have tried to make cleaning fun for my children.  Here are some things that I have done to help make it enjoyable for them: they practiced basketball when ‘tossing toys in their bins', we race to see who beats, we time them to see how fast they can do it, we try to beat the clock, we do it to music (my 13 year old still cleans and folds his laundry to music)

This is my little guy when he was a toddler, singing the ‘clean up' song and tossing his toys in the bin.

In the end, the more training that we do when they are young, it will seem like play to them and you will be instilling in them the ability to be independent in their play and cleaning up.  You can't go wrong with this training!

You may also enjoy reading How to Teach Your Child to Keep Their Room Clean

How To Teach Your Children to Keep Their Room Clean - These 5 things can make this difficult task really easy. | www.joyinthehome.com

A Gift Guide for Toddlers

There is so much wonder in toddlers that many times the box is more interesting than what comes inside.  I just love this age!  This gift guide for toddlers consists of age appropriate gifts that will grow with the child, and will bring wonder and excitement to them, even after the box has made its way to be recycled.  I know because they have worked for mine!

A Gift Guide for Toddlers - Gift ideas that will grow with your child. | www.joyinthehome.com

A Gift Guide for Toddlers

These gift suggestions are ones that will encourage the toddler to create, imagine and explore, while providing hours of fun.

 

MEASURE UP!® Cups by Discovery Toys

MEASURE UP!® POTS and SPOONS by Discovery Toys

Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker

Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Pets

Melissa & Doug Primary Lacing Beads

CASTLE MARBLEWORKS® by Discovery Toys

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Safari Chunky Puzzle

Plan Toy Geometric Sorting Board

Fisher-Price Little People Noah's Ark

Fisher Price Little People Nativity, Wise Men & Shepherds Playsets (3)

6 Steps to Successfully Break the Pacifier Habit

Out of my four children, all of them have to be broken from the pacifier.  These steps have worked wonderful to successfully break the pacifier habit in my fourth child and were collected in my experience of breaking the older three children.

6 Steps to Successfully Break the Pacifier Habit - Prolonging the use of a pacifier will make it harder to break, but these steps will make it easier. | www.joyinthehome.com

6 Steps to Successfully Break the Pacifier Habit

My first child was by far the hardest one to break, my second child mastered how to successfully break the pacifier habit, while the third child was key to adding a gentle weaning necessary for some children (and parents).  We didn't attempt to break the pacifier habit until my daughter turned 3.  I had already determined that this is too late to successfully break the pacifier habit because it has become so much of the child's routine. However, I was completely surprised when my second child did this himself just before his first birthday. My third and fourth children were both broken of this habit before their second birthday.

My Son Demonstrated How to Successfully Break the Pacifier Habit

It all happened one day during his nap time and completely unaware to me. When I went to get him out of his crib, I noticed that his pacifier was literally bitten off.  Yes, I said bitten off!  That night, he wanted his pacifier and I gave him it, with the smallest piece of rubber still attached.  He put it to his mouth and just held it there with his hand, as contently as if it were still there. The next day, the pacifier was under the side of his crib and I left it there to see if he really would forget about it… he did!

Use a Gentle Weaning Time to Successfully Break the Pacifier Habit

We started with a weaning process with our third child, as I experienced this in nursing to be easy on both the child and mommy. Before he turned eighteen months, I would leave his pacifier in his crib.  It only took a few days to let him know that this was for sleeping time only.

 

steps to breaking the pacifier habit

6 Steps to Successfully Break the Pacifier Habit

Now, our fourth child arrived and we had several different examples and like most experiences, I decided to combine the last two experiences and see what happened.

 

  1. Being weaning process by only allowing it in the crib or when sick
  2. At least a month prior to the next step, remove all other pacifiers from the house, diaper bags and vehicles {they are everywhere!}, so that only one exist in the house
  3. Before nap time, cut two-thirds of the tip off the pacifier and place back in its normal spot in the bed
  4. Offer the broken pacifier and allow the child to detach from it mentally and determine what needs to be done with it (our fourth child wanted it in the garbage, where our second one needed a little time)
  5. When they cry for it, remind the child that the pacifier was broken and you threw it away
  6. Encourage the child as being big now

In our experience, if a child begins to successfully break the pacifier habit before two, they will be able to do this in only three days. By that time, they are aware that it is gone and have been able to release it. Waiting too late, will prove, like in the case of my daughter that it is more difficult and can take years if the thumb becomes a replacement.


You may also like this post, How to Teach Your Toddler to Pick Up Their Toys

How to Teach Your Toddler To Pick Up Their Toys - These tips would also work with older children. | www.joyinthehome.com