One year ago today I got hospitalized for one week because I went into pre-term labor with my twin boys. Things worked out really well and I was fortunate enough to go home for the remainder of my pregnancy, but on strict bed rest.
One of my biggest worries with the sudden change of events was my toddler, who was just a few months shy of 2 at the time. Most of my stress was put at ease by my amazing mother-in-law who was able to put her life on hold for a month so that she could come stay with us and help out, but I still felt badly that I couldn’t take care of my own son.
I felt like I couldn’t do some of the things that I had hoped to do with Cameron before the babies came. I really wanted to make him feel special, because I knew having two new babies in the house would be a radical change for him and I suddenly felt like I couldn’t have that bonding time with him.
Thankfully I was able to move past that idea and I realized there was still a lot that I could do from where I was sitting. I was still able to have that special time with him and you can too if this is something that you’re dealing with in some form or another. Injury, morning sickness, fatigue, or just a down right bad head cold.
Here are just a few suggestions of things you can do with your toddler(s) with very minimal physical effort:
- Read books. Kind of no-brainer, right? My son loves books. You can make them more interactive by pointing out colors, animals, emotions, etc. Ask them to find things, ask them what sounds the animals in the illustrations make, ask them to imitate scenes, help them fall in love with a series. Books can go a long way.
- Coloring. Markers, colored pencils, crayons, Do-A-Dot, dry erase markers on white boards or pictures in page protectors, Color Wonder markers if you’re nervous about them getting marker on the couch/bed.
- Camp out by the bath tub and let them have at it with shaving cream or water colors all over the tub and tile.
- Cameron loved stickers, so letting him go through his sticker book and putting stickers all over papers was a hit.
- Let them play trains or cars gently on your tummy. You could put tape on your belly to create lanes.
- See if they’re interested in interacting with the baby/babies in mom’s tummy. Can they feel them move? Can they hear them? What would they like to say to them?
- Let them snuggle up to you and watch a movie or video clips on YouTube. I pulled out a lap top and watched some of my sons favorite animal clips all the time.
- Have your child put on a show for you. They can put on some dress up outfits and you can turn on some music from your phone for them to dance around to.
- Pretend that your child is a doctor and you are their patient. They can check your vitals while you lay down.
- They can “write” a letter to Grandma/Grandpa. Have them write alphabet letters on a piece of paper as if their writing words. If they aren’t old enough to actually write alphabet letters, maybe have them type on a lap top or computer keyboard. You can make the font really big so they can see it better and they can just type away.
Life throws us lots of curve balls, so save this list for a rainy day. No need to feel guilty about not being able to invest your normal amount of effort each day when you are under the weather. Your children can still feel your love for them and appreciate spending time with you all the same.
Rest on, Mom.