When I was thinking about this month I was thinking that having less screentime would mean that I’d be better focused on playing with Ascher(and Wilona) and that he’d be happier for it. What I didn’t quite realize is how much happier he is just with me up and doing things. While he enjoys it, he doesn’t need me to be down on the floor managing little games for him all day. He loves following me around the house, helping me move laundry from the washer to the dryer, exploring the pans and utensils in his drawer of the kitchen and generally just being in the same room with me doing stuff. Having the computer closed hugely cuts down on his distraction(as well as mine) while I’m working and he’s playing or bringing me books or toys to play with him.
Another thing that really helped with his concentration on any one toy is putting several categories of toys in boxes in his closet. I boxed the majority of the stuffed animals, bathtub toys that had just been used as general toys so far(won’t that be a great bath to dump in all at once sometime!), stacking cups, a variety of balls, legos, and a box of most of the little baby toys. I left out a Fisher-Price Little People barn and bus with people and animals, a shape sorter box, a push-down popper thing, a couple trucks, a pull-toy and some baby toys. I’ll rotate a box or two in a week and see how much he can enjoy his “new” toy. I really love that it reduces the amount of mess that can be made at any one time, but I think the best part is how much longer he focuses doing just one thing. I think that less clutter is easier on him too.
Additionally I put most of the paper-page kid books into a laundry type basket in the closet and only left his board books out. If Ben or I want to read other books to him we can get them out, but it was seeming like the first fun thing to do in his room was dump all the books off his shelf which is a huge mess and kind of hard on the books. Once he’s a bit older we’ll put the books back out, but for now this is a great fix.
We have been doing a few new things.
- He likes coloring a little bit now.
- We had a great game of “toss the construction paper ball into the box” that he really liked. Over and over he tossed the balls in and then dumped them all back into his lap to start over. His aim was improving after a few rounds of that!
- His kitchen drawer.
- This morning we took our cue from Wibbly Pig and made a “cushion mountain”.
How Wilona factors in.
- She is a little interested in books these days too.
- She likes being in the sling while I do things, though she doesn’t have as much patience for it as Ascher did.
- Sometimes I have to remember to put her down and give him both arms for a hug or a wrassle, because, while she isn’t self entertaining age yet, she is usually fine in her bouncy seat nearby for a bit while I play with Ascher more fully. And he needs lots of hugs too!
- I’ve been resorting to the tv less for him. When I was on the computer more he was fussy and grumpy and when I was feeding Wilona it felt like I couldn’t get up and play so I’d put on Curious George or Signing Time for a while. That worked, but it meant a big grump when I’d turn it off. Now I’m frequently reading while I feed her and he’s much happier.
- Happy babies, happy mama!