Adding an active toddler to the pregnancy symptoms you are experiencing can be even more exhausting. So I’ve compiled some tips to help you make it through those 40 long weeks, with a little one in tow.
1. It’s okay to embrace screen time.
Screen time doesn’t always have to be wrong when used in moderation. Save the screen for when you can’t hold your eyes open anymore, or the nausea is too much for you to power through. Finding educational videos on YouTube or any other child-friendly app that you have personally vetted, can give you a much-needed break, and even help teach your child some educational milestones.
My two-year-old loves to watch Preschool Prep Company on YouTube. The videos teach letters, shapes, colors, numbers, phonics, and more.
2. Use language your toddler might understand.
My toddler now knows what “take a break” means. She didn’t at first, but she quickly picked up on the phrase after the fifth time I said it one morning while sitting on the couch. When my belly became too big for her to sit on my lap, I explained in easy words how she could still cuddle with me on the side or lay her head on my belly. Even saying “Mama’s back hurts” helped her understand a bit easier why I couldn’t pick her up every time she asked once I hit my third trimester.
Now whether or not your toddler or preschooler will accept your easy explanation or have a tantrum, is a different matter. But using simple language to explain before they get upset and then holding firm, does help them adjust to all the changes.
3. Pick only a few crucial tasks for the day.
I live and breathe by my calendar and to-do list for the day. It helps me stay grounded and not be distracted with other tasks around my home that can wait another day. However, once I started fighting with the first-trimester sickness, and then the third-trimester fatigue hit, I had to cut back on how many items I could actually accomplish in a day.
This is a philosophy I also live by during the postpartum season. Just pick a few crucial tasks for your day, whether you choose to do one thing or five things. The number is up to you. During the early postpartum season, I usually only try to stick to two crucial tasks. One of those might be to get out for a walk and the other might be to take a shower. Right now, I choose three to five things to accomplish during the day. Honestly, sometimes a nap is one of the three things on my to-do list. No shame, mama! Take care of yourself!
4. Keep nap time sacred.
When your toddler is napping, make sure that time is dedicated to you. Even if it’s just a short cat nap, use the time to get things done.
If your toddler doesn’t take a nap, consider setting up a quiet time. Allow them to play in a room or spot safely with toys and activities so you can rest.
5. Use a toy rotation.
Rotate toys in and out of your child’s play area. That way, there is always something new, exciting, or that they haven’t played with in a while. It allows them to play independently, and you have a chance to catch your breath.
Some of the best activities we have that help facilitate independent play that I rotate through the day include mess-free watercolor paints, play dough, sensory boxes, library books, puzzles, and books with buttons that read the story aloud.