If you’ve got a toddler, springtime can mean a lot of fun!
The air’s fresh.
The sun is shining.
The flowers are blooming.
Yet instead of savoring every moment, many parents spend their time worrying about the next thing they need to do.
Ruminating over to do lists and things they need to plan for…
You know the drill.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way…
You can make beautiful spring days memorable fun for everyone – and especially delightful if you have a toddler.
It’s a matter of thinking outside the box of your normal routine and making a plan.
Here’s a few ideas to help do just that!
#1. Get Out In Nature!
“I already know this” you might be thinking to yourself.
And I don’t doubt you do.
But have you logged how much time you’re spending inside versus outside?
Because there’s a good chance you still spend most of your time inside even when it’s a beautiful day out.
It’s so easy in the winter to get in a routine of shuffling from home to work and back home…
Without ever taking the effort to get outside as a family.
Plus, unless you love winter sports, like skiing you’re probably spending most of your time inside anyway.
So it’s easy to get into a habit of only seeing the sun when you’re walking through the parking lot into the store.
To avoid that, track your hours inside and out for a week. If there’s an imbalance, start making sure you spend more time outside!
Just a few minutes a day can really make a difference in your mood. And even if you can only get your little one to the park for thirty minutes or so, that’s better than nothing.
Ok, next tip:
#2. Visit Your Allergist
OK, this one might be a bit odd. But hear me out…
A couple of years ago I used to have really bad allergies. And spring of 2017 was one of the worst allergies seasons I’d ever experienced.
One of my cousins had had great success with allergy treatment.
So that year I decided to give it a shot. I checked and found out that it was covered by my insurance.
I scheduled an appointment, went and got my allergies tested, and started getting treatment. Fast forward to today and I’m no longer of allergic to dust mites (I’m allergic to many things some of the other allergies will take longer to be immune!).
It’s been a huge improvement in my quality of life!
So, something to consider…
It can help make your outdoor activities that much more enjoyable.
Now you might not think that this is an option when you’re the parent of a toddler but I’m here to tell you otherwise!
I actually believe that teaching a little one to meditate (or do some type of simple breathing) is an excellent idea.
It’s a great tool to teach them how to calm down when it’s time to do so.
And it’s great as a parent to model self-control and techniques to calm down ourselves.
Plus it’s just fun!
Now with a toddler, you don’t have to make it complicated.
You can even make it as simple as sitting for a short time.
And breathing deeply with them.
Sit for 5 to ten minutes a day.
Hold them closely. And breathe deeply in and out.
This can be a great habit to include as part of your winding down time before bed!
#4 Learn And Memorize Your Local Flowers
This idea and the next is inspired by my grandfather.
It seemed like he knew everything about flowers. Or, he at least to a whole lot more than I do.
Maybe it was because he was from a different generation. Or had decided to make it a habit.
Either way, whenever he was visiting our house he was always trying to figure out which flower was which. Usually, he’d do it from memory, but sometimes he’d look them up.
So take it a point of inspiration from my grandfather and connect with the local flowers this spring.
I started doing this recently and it’s a great way to be more mindful of my surroundings.
It gets my mind off of whatever other things I happen to be thinking about.
Plus nowadays you can just download an app…
…so it’s super easy when you’re on a walk to identify them.
You can practice is remembering them and teaching the names of them as new words to your toddler!
#5. Get To Know The Trees
Just like getting to know the flowers idea above, you can also get to know the trees!
In some ways, I find it easier to remember the trees more than the flowers. It just seems like the trees have easier names.
But maybe that’s just me.
Take a minute right now and get up from wherever you’re sitting to look at your back window.
I’m looking out mine right now and I can see a number of trees.
I didn’t use them to know any of them.
And I’m not an expert…
But I’m getting to know them now. It’s a fun way to appreciate my backyard.
While you’re looking out your window ask yourself about the trees::
Can you name them all?
Start today learning one or two, practice those for a week, and you’ll end up knowing all the trees in your backyard in no time.
You’ll be a pro then at teaching your little one the names!
You might even discover that something you’re allergic to is everywhere =) and decide to get those allergies tested.
#6 Make Some Music
Now I don’t know about you but my toddler super loves music!
From Sesame Street to those songs they learn at daycare to the songs we sing around the house…
He loves all of it!
And so we have turned and making music into part of our daily routine.
Both for fun things and when we need him to do things.
We have a song for getting his shoes on!
And a song for cleaning up.
We integrate music into every day of our lives together.
Even if you are not musically inclined you can still expose your kid to music and the variety of instruments out there.
You might be surprised to discover that your child is very musical.
And maybe even have a budding composer.
I’m no expert on speech development but my gut tells me that it’s helpful for language acquisition too.
So however busy and intense your days might be, make them a little lighter and a little bit more fun by making more music with your toddler.
#7. Let The Chores Wait
Do you anxiously plan every moment of the weekend?
Trying to maximize every second? I know I sometimes feel like I need to.
But for me in spending an entire weekend doing chores really isn’t that much fun.
I’d much rather be doing fun things outside like playing in the park or going hiking…
So what that means is that I sometimes have to say no to myself. Because the reality is if I led the chores to dominate my schedule I can easily spend every week in over the course of the month doing chores and still not get everything done!
So let the chores wait.
Think about and identify what chores you absolutely need to do and what could perhaps wait.
Then make a plan to do something fun with that time instead!
#8 Plan An Easter Egg Hunt In The Park
Even if you’re not religious you can still have an Easter egg hunt!
Now, I know this might seem a little unorginal.
After all, it’s easy to think “well we did that.”
And maybe you planned something. Something small. Around the house. Not too crazy.
Wanted to keep it simple. Right?
If you went all out the last few yearrs ’cause that’s your thing – this tip isn’t for you…
I’m talking about the type of parent that imagines having something big, but then scales it back because you’re worried it’ll just be a big hassle.
And what I’m saying is:
Get outside your comfort zone. You don’t have to go wild here and spend a ton of money either.
All I’m saying is go a little bigger that you usually would.
Get a basket.
Get some candy.
Fill those plastic eggs.
Stash ’em around the house
Or in your backyard.
Make a fun afternoon of it!
#9 Have A Dance Party
Toddlers LOVE music.
Take advantage of that today.
Just think about it, if you fast forward 10 years from now, how likely do you think it is they’re going to want to have a dance party with you? =)
Get out the speakers!
Fire up your favorite dance music.
Teach your little one how to groove.
Dance with them. Make it feel like a party.
You’ll lighten up a dull day.
…And it doesn’t cost a thing.
Bonus points if you capture some cute dancing on video with your iPhone.
#10 Blow Bubbles!
There’s nothing a toddler loves more than running around on a sunny day blowing bubbles.
That’s the case at our house at least.
What’s great about this is a bottle of bubbles is pretty cheap, so even if you go through a whole bottle in a day you’re only going to be out a dollar or so.
Worth it for an afternoon of fun if you ask me!
You can quickly kill an hour on a Sunday afternoon chasing your little one around the park while blowing bubbles.
So much fun!
That’s it till next time!