General Question

shilolo's avatar

How can I manage two small kids all weekend?

Asked by shilolo (18033points) May 14th, 2009

So, my wife is working all weekend. I have to entertain my 6 month old and 2.5 year old alone. Any creative-practical suggestions would be great. We already go to the zoo, playgrounds and local museums regularly, but I am worried about how to chase my 2.5 year old son around while juggling my 6 month old daugter.

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46 Answers

augustlan's avatar

Sigh… men. What do you think we do while you’re at work? *

Honestly, for the most part, I stayed home when they were that young. It’s really hard to handle 2 kids that age in an unconfined area. Just get down on the floor with them and have fun. They don’t really need structured activities so much as they just need your love, affection and attention. If you do go out, take the stroller and plenty of snacks. Good luck!

* DISCLAIMER: I do not actually think women are any better than men at parenting. I am joking.

shilolo's avatar

@augustlan In my defense, she works all week like I do. The kids are in day care, and on the weekends, we are usually both around. The few weekends I have had to work recently we’ve had family in town to help my wife out. This time though, I’m flying solo.

augustlan's avatar

@shilolo I know… I really am just kidding. :)

I know it’s intimidating to be outnumbered at first, but you’ll do a fine job!

edit: I can’t even tell you how terrified I was the first time it was just me and my 3 kids (a newborn, a two year old and a three year old)!

YARNLADY's avatar

I agree with a on this one. Don’t plan on doing anything else but take care of them, no computering or TV watching. That young, the baby will sleep part of the day, and if you tire out the toddler with chasing balls, banging on pots and pans, getting out all the toys and then putting them away, and going for a walk with the baby in the stroller and the toddler running alongside, they both might take a nap at the same time.

I always make meals take a nice long time, also. I put my toddler grandson in his high chair while I prepare one thing at a time for him. I give him a few apple slices, followed by several crackers, and then some cut up pieces of cheese. That way each meal takes him nearly an hour of sitting in his high chair.

During that time, you could sit in a rocker with the baby, or put her on her mat with toys and milk.

Jack79's avatar

My sister has a 2-y-old daughter and a 7-m-old son, so the ages are almost identical. I’ve often had to entertain up to 6–7 children, but they were hand-picked for good behaviour and compatibility. Each kid is different. I remember this one little girl (my daughter’s best friend’s sister) who was a nightmare to look after. She needed so much attention that I would have to deal only with her and neglect all the other children. But 10 kids like her brother, playing nicely and quietly with each other would be no problem at all.

So what I’m saying is it depends on the kids.

Unfortunately in your case, the son is by definition a small child, meaning he’ll want to play, go to the swings, run about and break stuff. The fact that he walks and the daughter doesn’t makes all the difference. The daughter is easier in that you can have her in a pram all day and she’ll be sleeping half the time. She’s more demanding in that you’ll have to pack food and diapers if you go out, whereas the son is probably potty trained by now and can use a public toilet (or a tree) and eat fast food (ok, not a good idea, but at least he can chew). So that’s where your problem lies.

So, unless you can somehow split them, going out alone can be tricky (imagine running after one with the other in your hands). So you’ll probably have to stay home and watch TV for two days, or play some games with your son while your daughter is asleep or something. Knowing from my nephew and niece though, it is quite a demanding task (I often take one but never both).

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

2.5 and 6 months old? They are so young! Just give them a giant cardboard box or something.

augustlan's avatar

Just a little older, and you guys can make forts all over the house!

bythebay's avatar

I have complete and utter faith in you @shilolo. If you take them out for a long walk/stroll, then come back and have a serious talk with them about what you’ve been doing at work…they’ll sleep for hours! :)

casheroo's avatar

I’d wear the six month old as much as possible, in a wrap, and play time with the 2.5 year old.
Six month old will be entertained by watching her brother play, and you already have such fun activities planned. Does your 2.5 year old still nap? (i hope so for your sake)

Lupin's avatar

Turn off the computer and read to them. Even for a short time. Sit on the couch with no radio or TV on and just read. It only takes a couple of times before it becomes a habit. The first time do it for just a couple of minutes a little before nap time. You’ll be giving them a life gift more precious than any toy.

janbb's avatar

Walk or drive to a playground where you can put the infant in a stroller or push her on a baby swing while keeping an eye on the 2 1/2 year old. Tire him out, then home for a video or reading session. The zoo is also a good idea (I know you said you do that already.) My kids were about that age difference and “immobilizing” one while entertaining the other worked well. If the older doesn’t nap, he might be amenable to looking at books in his room while the younger one naps. I also enjoyed watching shows like Sesame Street with him and we did lots of reading with younger on my lap and 2 1/2 snuggled next to me. We also played “He-Man” (the old t.v. show) and the younger when he crawled (later in age) was Battlecat. Pretend games where you just have to roar and chase them are great. Also, building things with blocks like Duplo are good for a long time.

Another thing my kids did when the younger was a baby was the older one would jump on our bed whhile the younger was lying on it and getting bounced around. He was younger than yours then and it was his first real laugh. Talking about it now, I realize it could be a recipe for injury so you would have to be right there to supervise.

elijah's avatar

My daughter would sit in her exersaucer (sp?) next to whatever me and my son were doing. A few cheerios helped, and some baby safe toys. She was entertained just watching us play. We would build a “ramp” off the couch and race trucks down it, and make a pretend city with boxes. Sometimes we would play dress up. At 2.5 yrs kids sometimes have a short attention span. Just go with the flow.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Four little words: Duct tape and Velcro. Trust me, keeping them in one spot makes everything easier.

ubersiren's avatar

I was going to say exactly the same thing as @janbb. Go somewhere you can keep the baby in the stroller or take him/her out and goo goo a bit, but can still let the 2.5 year old run wild.

shilolo's avatar

@Knotmyday It’s like someone snuck into my house and took my picture (well, almost, since I don’t wear boxers).

gailcalled's avatar

@shilolo: So send us a pix of you (in your briefs) and the kids. I agree with the idea of staying home; do you have a back yard? Just the thought of stuffing the kids into the car seats both coming and going exhausts me.

Try to have them both need naps at the same time, thereby allowing you to crash.

galileogirl's avatar

If things get tough, imagine what it would be like if you were Jon Gosselin. You will feel MUCH better

SpatzieLover's avatar

Whatever you do, be PREPARED! DO NOT under ANY circumstance “run” to the grocery store with them. ;)

Have snacks for the two year old (my husband ALWAYS forgets the snacks ;) and plan out meals in your mind ahead of time.

Is there a park nearby you can all stroll to?

shilolo's avatar

@gailcalled I wouldn’t want to crash Fluther with all the extra attention it would draw.

With respect to doing stuff, my 2.5 year old son is way too active for me to have him cooped up inside all weekend. Plus, it is supposed to be actually be hot in San Francisco this weekend. We’ll roast in the house.

@SpatzieLover Yeah, I always pack some stuff (milk, crackers, fruits, yogurt) for him, and will have to also pack milk for my daughter. I like the park/playground idea, I just worry about trying to chase him around (he is very active) while watching my daughter too. I need to recruit some friends, but many are in the same predicament as I am.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Can you either wear the babe? Or keep her in the stroller occupied while you run the energy out of your son?

(Maybe you want to consider a toddler leash?)

passerby's avatar

small closet + padlock

shilolo's avatar

@SpatzieLover Yeah, I will have to use our BabyBjourn or perhaps the complicated sling device I haven’t quite figured out. As for the leash, I say, no way. I’m still trying to mentally prepare myself for the weekend. When there are two of us, we have fun. With one, it will be hard to put out “fires” and deal with the brewing jealousy of our older son.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I thought of a good one an online Dad shared with me…UTILIZE the bath tub or a kiddie pool in your yard. This exec dad said it was the ONLY way he could get 20 mins to handle callbacks or important emails. He’d fill the tub or pool with a little water and lots of toys, and the toddlers would have a blast whilst he sat with them doing work.

My toddler (almost 4) is currently using the hose to water the apple trees right outside the window I’m at.

Water is my friend! When I’m out gardening, my son can spend an hour sprinkling before he asks me for a “job” to do. If I give him a sponge & a bucket, he’ll spend a 1/2hr cleaning a bench, chair or door!

SpatzieLover's avatar

@shilolo Lots of luck with that sling. :) My son hated that thing! But, he’d tolerate the Bjorn =)

shilolo's avatar

@SpatzieLover Great idea on the water. We have a little backyard, and lots to do there. If I can figure out a little pool type thing, he’ll play for hours and will water plants all day if I let him.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@shilolo Quick go through your recycling bin and wash a couple of containers for him to fill with rocks, sand, dirt-etc. He’ll have a blast. If you’re not into that idea, head to a dollar store or a local craft store and get a cheap bucket and some cheapo gardening tools. My son loves that he has his own big boy yard stuff to have fun with.

At your son’s age maybe you could allow him either a plot of his own to dig in, or a planter that you fill with sand. You won’t have to worry about chasing him around at all. Just be prepared with towels and a change of clothes!

sakura's avatar

If the weather is good defo head outdoors to the local park and tire the little dahlings out!! If the weather is yucky or you just fancy staying indoors, build a fort from the clothes hore, under table cushions etc..
Make play dough?? 500ml flour 250ml salt (epsom salts make the dough a bit smoother), 4 table spoons vegie oil, 3 teaspoons cream of tartar and 500ml of boiling hot water, stir and add food colouring, volia! You could try adding cocoa powder or vanilla or mint flavouring to make it smell awsome!

Have fun you will be fine, just relax, chill, kids sense it when you are over anxious.


galileogirl's avatar

@shilolo Maybe I missed it but what about the park and the zoo.

There is a fun festival near Speedway meadow in GG park on Sat. Academy of Science has a Story Time, Sat @ 11 for 2–5 yo. Oracle Learning does stuff for kids @ Yerba Buena Center. Pickle Water Free Circus is Sunday afternoon @ Union Square. There are weekend programs at the aquarium and they have started the free summer concerts @ the music concourse in the park on Sundays. It’s just about wearing out the 2 yo in a couple of hours isn’t it?

If worse comes to worse, run him up and down Ocean Beach.

augustlan's avatar

Back yard kiddie pool/water play sounds like a great idea! Get some spray bottles from the dollar store to use as ‘squirt guns’, too. Obviously, don’t turn your back on him for a second.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Do you have a playmate or a mobile over a crib – the baby will be there while you play with the toddler near by…otherwise, it’s all about holding the baby while you tell your toddler to not do this and this and this and to not die

shilolo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I was following you right up until the “tell your doctor….” part. Huh?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@shilolo toddler, lol, edited
i’m at work

gailcalled's avatar

@Shilolo; Between the ages of 10 months, when he started walking, and three, my son was so swift and curious that I always used a leash on him when we strolled in public. Otherwise, he would have been down every sewer and open man hole, poking every nearby dog and generally getting lost. If I decided to go north, he chose south. If I wanted to go up the avenue, he went down.

How about you squirting your son with a hose whilst you lounge in a chair with some iced tea and your little daughter hanging from you? Just use surgical knots on the sling. Hats and sunblock for all, too.

galileogirl's avatar

Whoops! I just realized the Bay to Breakers is on Sunday so if you go to the park or the beach, your best bet is Muni. It usually calms down around 2 except at the Polo Field where the party goes on in the afternoon. The PF is far from the the aquarium etc.

shilolo's avatar

@galileogirl Yes, I’m familiar with the havoc caused by BTB and the Polo Grounds. I’ll probably just hang out at home for a bunch of time so as to avoid too much traveling.

shilolo's avatar

Update: So, the weekend went fine. It was super hot, but we still managed to go outside both days. Hit the playground (wearing my daughter in a Bjorn) on Saturday, followed by naps, then squirting each other with spray bottles in the afternoon in the backyard. Sunday went to the zoo , watched a nature show on spiders and made some cards for my son’s day care teachers. Other than being tired, I am pleased with how things went. Thanks all for the suggestions.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Hooray! Glad to here you had a nice weekend with the wee ones. :)

sakura's avatar

Glad you had a good weekend!!

bythebay's avatar

Aw, we knew you could handle it! :)

casheroo's avatar

Sounds like you all had a great time :)

janbb's avatar

Good work, Shi!

And kudos to the kiddies for putting up with you. :-)

augustlan's avatar

A+ for the daddy!

Knotmyday's avatar

Cheers for dad! And kudos for mom…mom still has the hardest job.

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