(Closed) Ways to keep a clingy toddler busy for a few minutes? Hours?

posted 6 years ago in Parenting
Post # 3
18644 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

I’m not sure if this works at his age but I know a lot of kids love to tear up paper.

Post # 4
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

When we took Dirty Delete for her first plane rides at about 15 months, I bought a bunch of cheap new toys and books and wrapped them up in wrapping paper before the flights.  Each present probably occupied her attention for 15 minutes of more, and then we’d space letting her open a new toy with snacks, singing/playing finger games, playing with her old toys, reading books, etc… 

Also, we took a 12 hour car ride with Dirty Delete when she was about a year, and we did the majority of the trip at night, which was absolute heaven.  I put her in her pj’s and did her whole bedtime routine and then put her in her car seat instead of the her crib.  On the return, we did it during the day, and while it was a lot more difficult, it was still doable.  We tried to stop every hour to every 1.5 hours so Dirty Delete could get out and stretch her legs.  Otherwise, we had a similar routine of giving her snacks, singing songs, reading books, and playing with her toys.

As far as activities to keep him entertained while you’re busy, Dirty Delete loves taking things out and putting them back in: crayons in/out of crayon boxes, Matchbox cars in/out of baskets or buckets, my credit cards in/out of my wallet, anything in/out of my purse, etc…  The more challenging it is to get the item in/out, the better.  Ummmm, she’s also gotten into stacking things lately, so her big Legos keep her attention for a while, as well as her set of wooden blocks.  Oh, stickers are really big with her right now, too, and she’ll happily play with a page of stickers and a blank piece or paper for like 15 minutes. 

Finally, I’m not sure how you feel about screen time at this age, but I have this free Droid app on my phone called Zoodles.  It has a bunch of age-appropriate YouTube videos that Dirty Delete loves.  Most of the videos are 1-2 minutes long, and it’s things like clips from Sesame Street, shapes/colors/letters introductions, videos of animals, animations of children’s songs, etc…  As our last resort when Dirty Delete really doesn’t want to sit still in a place where she can’t get up and run around, we’ll let her watch a video or two on my phone, and that keeps her happy for a few more minutes.

ETA:  I feel like I should add that we rarely ever leave Dirty Delete completely on her own.  If I’m doing something in the kitchen, she comes with me and does activities in her highchair.  If I need to shower, she comes in the shower with me and plays with her bath toys.  Imo, toddlers can’t be trusted to be on their own for more than a minute or two, lol, so we encourage independent play in an area we can still watch her, instead of leaving her alone to her own devices.

Post # 5
441 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I am interested in this thread. I have a two and a half year old, and he is sooo clingy. I cant cook, clean, shower, or even go to the bathroom without him being RIGHT there. If he isen’t in eye distance of Fiance or I, he has a complete meltdown. So I would love to hear about the advice here!

Post # 6
6661 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2010

I’m not a parent so you’ll probably laugh at what I have to say, but what about gating off your kitchen and work areas and making them off limits? That is what my SIL did with her daughter who just turned 4. She is a Stay-At-Home Mom and wouldn’t have been able to do any cooking or cleaning otherwise. She had to be firm about it too – her daughter had a choice of things to do, but was not under any circumstances allowed to enter mommy’s work areas. She got a timeout if she tried to break the rules.

Post # 7
9029 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I know people with babies your age and they just wear the baby on their back with a carrier while they do things around the house.

Post # 8
4755 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I think you should start thinking “VERY clingly” isn’t fine.

Encourage him/ her to do something nice for mommy, then come give it to you as a surprise. And reward him for time spent alone, instead of nurturing the clininess.

Post # 9
1371 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Frustrating for sure.  Not much advice becasue my step son was 3 when he joined us, but our first car trip was hell.  THe next one we gave him a dose of gravol before hitting the road at night and he slept for about 5 hours.  But the downside once rwe reached our destination around midnight, he was wide awake and would NOT go back to sleep, and was therefor horrible the next day too lol.

I personally agree with the gating off areas, and telling the child it’s mommy time or something.  And you know what, meltdowns won’t kill them, a close friend of mine got to the point where she just went ahead and did her thing, kids freaking in the background (she had 2 within a year ish of eachother.  After a few days they got to not caring so much and she could putter without them hanging off her.  She put their playpen right outside the bathroom door when she showered so she could look out at them, and same when she did anything like cooking/cleaning etc.

Post # 10
2821 posts
Sugar bee

My LO is a bit younger but so far what works is to let her have musical instruments or stuff to bang together.  I sit her in her high chair in front of my piano and let her bang away.  Otherwise she seems to like pretending to read books and then eating them.  Maybe give her a little mini cook area to play ‘mommy’ and then have tea with what she prepares afterwards.

Post # 12
631 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I know it sounds horrible, but you might just have to let him cry it out. I have 3 kiddos and there are times when I have to leave him in the crib or close the door behind me to get anything done. My oldest is 5, so she can occupy herself and the youngest is 6 months old, so he’s safe in his playpen while I do things even if he’s fussy. The 2  year old is the clingy little trouble maker, so if he won’t let me do anything, I’ll plop him in his high chair where he can see me and I’ll do what I need to do. I try to give him little things to keep him from crying, like snacks, toys, etc, but sometimes I just have to let him be upset that he’s not getting my undivided attention. 

Post # 13
2442 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

If you don’t want to let him watch educatonal TV/videos, how about an Ipad or something like it.  They seem to keep little ones hypnotized.  My cousin’s son (though a tiny bit older than 14 mos.) uses his Iphone and Ipad like it’s his!  We all had dinner together at a restaurant and the little guy kept himself entertained with that Iphone the entire time – about 2.5 hrs!

Post # 15
6824 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

You are just going to let him cry it out.  What is happening is he knows soon as he screams, mommy will come and pick him up.  He knows who is in charge and it isn’t you. 

As PP said you need to set some boundraries and let him know this is mommy’s area and this is his area.  After few times of him crying it out, he will realize that isn’t going to work anymore.

Post # 16
6009 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

Meh, we don’t let Dirty Delete cry, either.  Different strokes, you know.  🙂  What I’ve found is that we can build DD’s tolerance to things without her crying, but it does take a lot longer.  She has to “practice” the new skill for a while before she becomes proficient.  So if your son is very high maintenance (some babies are just born that way), and he has to be on/with you at every moment, maybe try building up his patience to not touching/being with you with games.  For example, playing peekaboo, eventually working up to even going around the corner or out of the room instead of just hiding, helps teach him that you’ll always come back and that he’s ok to be without you for a moment.  Also, Dirty Delete loves to chase us or be chased, and that game helps them learn that being a little outside your immediate grasp can be fun and not scary.

Secondly, once you build up his tolerance to being in the highchair next to you, you can still do some activities, even if he’s still in the “eating everything” phase.  DD’s daycare has the babies “paint” with pudding or yogurt, when the older kids are using real paint.  They also use pudding or yogurt to “glue” cheerios to paper.  You can make your own playdough, too, which is non-toxic in case he decides to eat some.  We also talk up Dirty Delete “helping us” with chores and cooking, which keeps her busy and happy.  She takes dishes out of the dishwasher and hands them to us to put away, or helps take the wet clothes out of the washer and put them into the dryer.  If we’re cooking, she likes to help stir, or sometimes I’ll give her veggies/fruit and a brush and have her “wash” them for me.  If she feels like she has a job, and she gets a lot of praise for completing that job, she’s more apt to join in and feel like we’re still playing with her even when we’re doing something productive.

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