10 Ways to Tire Out Your Toddler
How I Make Sure My Toddler Naps and Sleeps at Night
Generally in summary, the whole idea is to keep your toddler as active as possible throughout the day. As parents we often don't encourage our children to move and keep active enough. And we don't tend to move enough ourselves too.
Also being outdoors as much as possible wears them out. It's been proven that people who are outdoors more have better quality sleep. Our ancestors spent most of their time outdoors and now we spend most of it indoors, but our bodies haven't adapted to our new habits, they need to move and be outside!
Check out some activities that I use to wear my 2 year old out.
This has to be one of my favorite activities to wear my son out. I take him swimming in the morning and he will nap early and then sleep later on as well. As well as being active, I think cooler water means kids have to stay warm so their body has to work harder.
Other water play could be an inflatable pool or water sprinkler in the summer which will also help tire toddlers out.
Ditch the stroller
We tend to put our kids in a stroller then go shopping or for a walk. Ditch the stroller as much as possible and make kids walk where you can. I know toddlers tend to walk in the opposite direction than you want them to but go with it for a little while and give them some opportunity to stretch their legs. When you need to get stuff done by all means put them in for a little while but try not to leave them in there as much as possible.
Also don't put them in the shopping cart at the supermarket and get them to walk around the aisles. It may take you longer to do your shopping but you will regain the time when they're sleeping later. I tend to do this for a little while with my son. I allocate a bit more time for shopping! He loves it, I talk to him about the different foods, colors, packets and containers. After a while, I admit I put him in the cart to finish off but he does get some exercise while we're there.
How do You Wear Your Kids Out?
Get out for a walk with your toddler. You can try and make this fit in with your day. Perhaps you need to get some bread and milk. Don't take the car, walk to the nearest shop.
Or just go out for a walk for fun. Talk about what you see. What cars, buses, trucks and other vehicles are there? What colors can you see? Can you see any insects or other animals?
Make your walk a sensory walk. Use all the senses to experience your walk. Touch leaves, smell flowers, point out the colors and listen for birds and insects. You can even taste blackberries or other edibles fruits you may encounter. You could take off your shoes and go barefoot among different surfaces (mud, sand, grass etc).
Try and vary the terrain to make your walks more interesting. Go to the park, local woods, beach or just walk along the street. Walk in the rain, Sun and snow. Climb over logs, jump in puddles, run into the wind, - explore the whole environment. Kids love it.
Fresh air and keeping active will keep everyone healthier and happier too.
One top tip is to let your toddler lead - this will stop any resistance and they will surprise you with how long they can walk for too.
Indoor Activities - Soft play and more
If it's raining outside there is always the soft play centre.
I always prefer outside activity with my kids but I do take them to soft play if the weather is bad or for a change.
The great thing about soft play is that as they get older and need less supervision you can get a cup of coffee and relax.
If you're stuck indoors, there's also plenty you can do. Sometimes just giving my kids a bath seems to wear them out. And if I put enough toys in the bath, my 2 year old will play and I can just sit next to him and read a magazine.
Step walk - just a 5 minute activity but one that gets them moving. If you have steps just get them to go up and down the stairs. You can count them as you go which makes a good activity to learn numbers as well.
Another great idea to get them moving is to encourage them to do really active nursery rhymes. Youtube is a great place to look to get ideas. Some of my favorite ones with my kids include Dingle, Dangle Scarcecrow, If You're Happy and You Know It and Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Playgrounds and Parks
Most kids love a playground. The fresh air will help tire them out but don't just sit on the swing. Have a walk around. Talk a ball and play catch. Feed the ducks if they're are any. Play chase or skip. If your toddler has a balance bike, scooter or other ride on where they are active - take it and use it.
If you really want to tire them out, make them run as much as possible. Run to the tree and back, do laps round the park, run down up and down the hills. Get their heart pumping and their body moving.
We bought my son a balance bike for his 2nd birthday and he uses it nearly everyday. He loves his bike and can go very fast.
It wears him out too. Highly recommended!
Activities in the Backyard
Don't forget to use your backyard if you have one. They can go out in all weathers as long as they are appropriately dressed.
Give them spades and containers and let them get dirty and make mud pies.
Play ball, catch, kick and throw.
Water play is also great for wearing them out. Sprinklers and inflatable pools with water are great for wearing them out in the summer. In the winter, I used to put my son in a rain suit or a snow suit so he could play out in the rain or snow. Just remember there is no such thing as bad weather - just bad clothing.
Another great activity for the backyard is water painting. Give the a paintbrush and let them "paint" the walls with water. Toddlers love doing this!
Create an obstacle course.
This can be done indoors (if you have the space) and outdoors too. There are all kinds of things you can do - the imagination is the limit. Include jumping, hopping, walking, running. You can crawl under things, run around things, jump over things (if they're old enough to jump high enough yet), climb over objects.
Music and Dancing
When you really can't face going outside in the cold but need to wear out your toddler, put some music on and dance with them inside the home. It's fun for the adult and the toddler too.
Try A New Activity
Have you ever noticed if you spend some time during the day doing something new you or meeting new people it can be tiring. This same is true for toddlers. Try and schedule in some new activities during your day. The great thing about this is that there are lots of things your toddler won't have explored before. It could be play doh, musical instruments, new nursery rhymes or perhaps there is a new toddler group you would like to try. It could even be going to a friend's home you've never visited before and exploring the toys they have there.
A Final Tip
I love reading to my boys before bed and I really find it helps calm them down. They go to sleep a lot quicker if they have a bedtime story.