As a stay at home mum to a toddler who doesn’t go to a nursery yet (she’s going to be two years old very soon) I feel I have more pressure on making sure she gets enough stimulation via play time and interaction with peers.
I used to go swimming with her and do quite a few baby classes but I stopped a few when she got quite ill last autumn. She had tonsillitis, two ear infections, colds and a cough so a decision to stop swimming for a while was probably a wise idea. When it was time re-book for the spring/summer term, they didn’t have suitable times or venues available so we didn’t continue…
The winter came and passed and I was a regular with her at soft play once a week and the local library’s rhyme time twice a week. The other days I’d take her to playgrounds and just walk around. I really like taking her to big stores like Harrods, Selfridges, John Lewis and explore their kids’ floors. For now she also understands that we don’t need to buy anything so I’ve no stress that she’ll throw a tantrum when I ask her to put things back on the shelves.
London parks are amazing and luckily we’ve got quite a few in relatively close distance. I like taking her to Regent’s Park the most, then walk around the Boating Lake and watch birds. The Rose Garden is also fun to explore and perfect for an al fresco lunch or dinner. Hyde Park has the most amazing playgrounds and Primrose Hill the best views. So, overall, stuff I do is pretty low key – window shopping and exploring parks that involves bee watching and ant patrol 🙂 . Plus weekly play dates with local mums and eating out in cafes. That we do a lot, we’ve even taken her to a bit fancier restaurants and she has behaved really well, eaten everything and just been a delight to other diners. Sometimes I take her to central London too, our favourites so far are watching buskers in Covent Garden and walking along Southbank.
Ok, now I’ve explained well enough what our typical activities are and just writing about it made it sound like I’m awfully busy with her but then I met this mum in the library and I felt I needed to up my game! (eek) Enter – mum guilt and let’s categorise it under “I don’t do enough”. This mum knew all the activities in our area and miles beyond, she knew what bus to take where, how long it would take, how much this theatre ticket is and so on. I felt… inadequate and was convinced our daughter was bored with me.
One week I decided to join her in a new toddler class and a church playgroup. I had activities planned for every morning and almost every afternoon. It also happened to be a week when I was on my own while husband travelled for business. That week I did over 100,000 steps and while the weather was amazing and we did end up having a lot of fun I was exhausted. I continued for another week of playgroup and further London exploring and then admitted I needed to slow down. Getting around London isn’t so simple, it takes time and planning – is it easier to walk, bus or tube it? Then the school holidays started and there were no more classes to go to and I went back to park walks, playgrounds and picnics and I think she’s had a brilliant summer 🙂 .
It’s so easy to overdo it or feel guilty if you think you don’t provide the best entertainment for your little one. She might be doing more and getting more interaction in a nursery but we’ve decided she’s going to stay at home with me for another year, meaning more pressure for me but I’m so up for it. After all I did choose this. Fair enough, when we’re stuck at home because of bad weather I sometimes struggle with getting creative and have fun things to do with her and I admit, sometimes we just do laundry and clean up, she thinks she’s helping and she’s entertained. There, done, shouldn’t feel guilty! At this age they find climbing into a box, lining up all their dolls or cars, making pasta necklaces and playing with Play-Doh fun, so I think I’ll be good for a while. 🙂