Sunday, August 30, 2015

How to Burn Off a Toddler's Energy Without Burning Yourself Out

Dear Please Help,

Not having enough energy to "mom" is another tough situation all moms with chronic illnesses find ourselves in now and again. It's just the way things are for us. Kids always want Mom to play along, but sometimes we just can't. I'm willing to bet that moms with new babies might also run into a similar problem. Here are some ideas to help burn off that energy without burning yourself out and keep everyone in the family at their healthiest. Fellow parents, babysitters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and just plain fun people, please add your ideas in the Comments below.

Treasure Hunt: Hide 'n seek with a toy. Hide something and ask your kiddo to find it. You can use clues like "warmer" and "colder" to play along.

Jumping Frog in a Pond: place pillows on the floor and ask your kiddo to jump from one to another like a frog on lilypads. Sound effects are a plus. It's a great teaching moment for your kiddo to remember things he or she would find in a pond and add them in.

Balloon No-Fall: Blow up a balloon and tell your kiddo to bump it around and see how many "bumps" your kiddo can get in a row. Keep playing to see if he or she can break their record.

Jumper Trampoline: See the picture on the right. This requires a purchase and supervision, but it's well worth it if you ask me. You can find this one and others at

Dance Party: Turn up some tunes and clap along while your kiddo wows you with his or her awesome dance moves! Make an audience out of stuffed animals and dolls for extra motivation. I find that slipping on a tutu helps my little girl get into the dancing spirit. Boys might enjoy a cape.

Throw Balls Up the Stairs: This is a variation on the game of catch where you and your toddler throw balls up the stairs and catch them as they bounce down. You're going to want to use very light balls for this, like beach balls, as you will both no doubt be hit in the head on occasion, which only adds to the fun.

Animal Races (with you as the Referee): Have your kiddo run races while acting like different animals: a turtle, a rabbit, a dog... Downhill is best, from one tree to the next or around the kitchen table. If you have a whistle or special super-fast running shoes, use them. Ready... Set... Go!

Stop and Go: This is basically "Redlight Greenlight" for one and might take some practice. Your kiddo will get a kick out of seeing how close he or she can get to you before you yell, "Stop!" and then giggle with anticipation while you wait and stutter to yell, "Go!" again. Who doesn't love to be rewarded with a big hug and kiss from Mom?