Nothing prepares you for the energy of a toddler. You think you know but then you realize there is not enough coffee in the world for a full day with a toddler. Right? That cannot just be me who lives on coffee and carbs while chasing a toddler?  

Living with a toddler can feel like being in a never-ending tornado.
Ooh, here’s the blocks…whoop, never mind, I see stickers…wait…one…minute…is that play-doh?!  Vrroom, vroom, beep, beep, move out of my way, here comes all my trucks and tractors, too!!
If your organization skills aren’t on point (and even if they are) your home ends up looking like a scene right out of Twister.  There’s never a dull moment. 

If this all sounds familiar, it’s because it is so common for most of us, at some point in parenthood. Living with toddlers, or young children, gives you a renewed outlook on how fascinating and stimulating the world can be.   Everything is new, and seemingly touchable. There’s so much to explore, and many insects and animals to chase. 

Their mega amounts of energy smashed together with vast sense of curiosity creates a common challenge.  Parents and caretakers all around the world wake up each day thinking, “How are we going to burn this energy today?”.

Here are some handy tips from a tired-mom-of-a-toddler for when you take your children to a playground:

  • Find a fenced in area, bring some soccer balls and let them go wild. Our local play area has tennis courts that don’t get used often. These are our go-to places for when we just need to feel like the situation is ‘contained’. 
  • Create challenges at a playground – “Can you run from the slide to the ropes, and then to the swings before I can count to 10?”
  • Do a scavenger hunt. Sometimes it’s their mental energy that needs to be burned too. Create a list of things to find at the playground that they can find independently.   
  • Bring a small bucket of ‘playground toys’ with you from home. We often fill a bucket with toys that are missing pieces, or toys that have lost their appeal.  The stuff that you’re about to toss can provide an exciting, new level of fun in a new environment.  Sometimes we leave them behind for other children to explore too. (Make sure this is appropriate etiquette for the playground you’re visit)
  • Anticipate meltdowns – because they will come!  I like to keep a small toy or a new idea for a fun game tucked away for these moments. If the little ones are getting bored, or not sharing well, then it can be a nice redirect to settle them down in the moment of toddler panic. 
  • A good burst of play right before a nap or bedtime can help them fall asleep easier and maintain a better sleep quality. Especially when the play involves fresh air or sunshine!

Life with a toddler can be exhausting so make sure to prioritize your own well-being too. A burnt-out caregiver can only handle so much energy, especially if your energy levels aren’t on the same playing field. Many introverted parents raising extroverts can understand how important it is to adjust your expectations of their energy levels to match their age, personality, home life, etc.  Reframing that energy from ‘hyper’ to ‘adventurous’, or from ‘wild’ to ‘wonderous’ can help put things into perspective. 

Let go of your own burst of energy, while hopefully tiring out that toddler too!

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