Recently, Autumn was spending a lot of time in trouble. She started a very unattractive, and uncharacteristic habit of screaming at me and asking for attention in the most unflattering ways. I was on Pinterest, looking for ideas when I came across a quote, “People who need love will often ask for it in the most unflattering ways.” It hit me right in the gut. I try to work very hard to make sure Autumn is independent and able to keep herself happily occupied, but I had been putting too high of an expectation on her. She is not even two years old yet, so with so much “free play” time, she was getting bored and then would beg for attention by doing things she knew would get her attention.

Once I realized what was going on, I sat down and set alarms to go off twice a day, during her normal play times to remind me to have structured play time where she and I are interacting and learning and providing her with some more constructive one-on-one attention so she does not feel the need to act out.

After setting my alarms, I sat down and made a list to keep in my phone when I am low on ideas. Here is what I came up with:

  • Reading a book
  • Color preferably on something like a box, which is apparently way more fun than coloring on plain old paper!
  • Laundry -Autumn loves helping me put laundry away, or move the clean laundry from the washer to the dryer. She also loves to stuff her cloth diapers when they come in off the line.
  • Anything water related. Watering the garden, filling up the waterers for our chickens, ducks and geese, or simply playing with a cup filled half-way with water and a spoon is always a hit.
  • Cleaning up
  • Throwing rocks in the yard – actually, Autumn came up with this. We have a very small pond that she loves to throw rocks into when playing out in the yard. Hey, whatever keeps her happy, right?
  • Playing with makeup and other pampering things. She loves having her toes painted, having her nails clipped and her hair brushed! She even has her own makeup brush that stays in my makeup bag so she can “pretty” with mommy.
  • Having teeth-brushing parties! We love to grab an aunt, or maybe Daddy and have a tooth brushing party. This kid loves to brush her teeth…don’t ask me why!
  • Felt board games- my wonderful mother-in-law got her a felt board that she loves to play with in her high chair. Usually, it keeps her occupied for 15 to 20 minutes before she gets tired of it. She also enjoys putting all the little felt pieces back into their bags. Yay for having a neat child!
  • Training with the dogs – When I am working on training my dogs, Autumn loves to “help” by holding treats and giving the dog treats when the dog performs well. This gives me an opportunity to teach her how to interact safely with our dogs, and give the dog an opportunity to learn to play appropriately with her.

These are some of out favorite things to do. I would love to hear your suggestions that are good for little ones around her age!