25th July 2016

From dinner to bedtime: how to wear your toddler out

We all know how it is; our day is tailored to try and enrich the lives of our little ones. Play dates, arts ’n’ crafts, exercise, nature… but if we’re honest, it’s not just because we want our children to be stimulated, no siree. It’s also because we want our children to be knackered. Bedtime means we ourselves can read! And sit! And most importantly, do. absolutely. nothing. The trickiest part to navigate is from dinner time to bed time, so here’s a few ways you can combat the twilight zone and other pointers to bear in mind. By Susie Verrill

Anything energetic needs to be done as close to dinner as you can get it, without the threat of them being sick. Mainly because otherwise you might shoot yourself in the hoof and get them all riled up. Thus meaning, duh duh duuuuuuuh, later bed time. Fail.

Now’s a great time for your little one to be useful. That’s right, useful! Grab a stool and have them help you with the washing up, give them a hand held vacuum, ask them to pick up the toys and make a game out of it. The more chores they get done after all, the less you have to do when you’d really rather be watching new episodes of OITNB.

With this in mind; if you have a garden, during summer time hours, have them water the plants! It’s a job I personally always forget, but one which my son adores. Plus if I’m being really lazy then he technically doesn’t have to go in the bath…

However, bath time is a perfect time-waster. Toys ahoy, bubbles galore and a little bit of music playing out from your phone. A good half an hour (you may need to keep adding warm water of course) can be had in here. A whole half of an hour!

Reading. But not ‘just’ reading; I’m talking ‘ooooh, lift that flap up, what’s under there?’ and ‘what colour’s this birdy?’ and ‘how many apples are in this box?’ and SO MANY QUESTIONS THEY’LL BE BEGGING TO GO TO SLEEP.

Late night trips to the supermarket, they can’t be scoffed at. Child gets a whole heap of things to look at, loaves of bread to hold/bang like a drum, an exciting trip out in their pyjamas. Works a treat! Unless they fall asleep in the car..

Dancing. Which, when combined with a hard surface and hairbrushes, means your toddler can pretend to be in the world’s most acoustically challenged band and whack him/herself in to tiredness.

Sticker books. Toddlers aren’t great with actually knowing what to do with stickers but if I ask Milo where he wants them stuck on a brightly coloured piece of paper while he ‘colours in’ around it then for some reason it keeps him very much occupied.

Facetime. No idea why, but chatting with friends or family in the evening over FaceTime makes my son mighty sleepy. Plus, you look like a really good sister/friend/daughter because you’ve taken the time out of your schedule to call.

Ripping up magazines/newspapers/tissue paper. Mess free really, isn’t it? Once they’re done you can just lob it in the bin. It’s like having a free, less noisy shredder.


@mushmums @susiejverrill

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