How to Keep a One Year Old Happy

September 14, 2012 by Mindy Klitzman Overlin  
Published in Motherhood

Ideas of creative playtime fun for your toddler.

I am a stay at home mom and have been for 16 months now. I used to work full time before getting pregnant and really never saw myself as the stay at home mom type. After 16 months I am still getting used to it and there are days that I do miss being at work around adults. However, my little girl has brought much joy to my life and I love being a stay at home mom. It has many rewards that I never found at a regular office job that I previously had.

Being a stay at home mom though does has it’s challenges. The older my little girl has gotten the more challenging it has become to keep her occupied and happy. She has no siblings so she looks to play with me all day. But I have a house to keep up including laundry, cleaning, cooking, shopping for household items, and trying to bring in extra income at home working various jobs. With all that said, I have found I have needed to get a little more creative on occupying my daughter.

The first thing I have realized is no matter how many toys we buy, she would much rather play with items that are not considered toys. So I have grabbed some household items from around the house that are either broken or we no longer use and put them in a box for her to play with when I’m cooking dinner. To her it’s the best toy in the world because it looks like something she should not be playing with and doesn’t look like the typical toy. I have filled the box with an old vcr remote control, old tupperware, plastic lids from sour cream containers, plastic silverware, wooden spoons, tubes that held the paper towel and wrapping paper, and empty plastic water bottles. This will keep her occupied for a good 45 minutes and I’m able to make dinner without her grabbing onto my leg crying the entire time!

I have done similar things in other areas of our home. I have a drawer in the bathroom and a little basket of similar items that she is allowed to play with and that are safe for her. She loves to open up the drawers so I made the bottom drawer hers. She pulls things out and puts them back in and sorts everything. It keeps her busy and allows me to take a shower or bath in peace! I have done the same thing in our spare bedroom where she has a couple of drawers in the nightstand that have goodies for her to play with. While she’s playing, I can work on cleaning the house or putting away laundry. Speaking of cleaning, I have found she loves to push the mop around. So when it’s cleaning time I let her investigate the vaccuum and mop. I also pull out a bunch of clean rags and she likes to sort through them while I clean. I am thinking she will be my little cleaning helper when she gets older!

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