Help please! Evening activities and bedtime — The Bump
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Help please! Evening activities and bedtime

What time does your 2 1/2 or 3 year old go to bed?  What do you do in the evenings with them?  My son is so super active and also doesn't need much sleep.  He eats dinner between 5-6 and doesn't go to bed until 8:30.  He gets a bath every night and we read a few stories but I am finding the evenings drag on and on sometimes.  He's bored with his toys by then and it's too cold or dark to go outside. 

Re: Help please! Evening activities and bedtime

  • Can you run errands after dinner? Sometimes DS just needs to get out of the house, even if it's not a fun errand. One night he was really restless after dinner and I took him to Michael's, which he normally wouldn't like. That night it was super fun for him. I think he just needed to get away. We also try to reserve different toys or games for the evening, especially with Daddy. After DH gets home from work, DS gets really excited to play with him and they usually go in the basement to play trains. I don't normally do that with him, so it's something special for him. Or I just make it a point to play "with" him more in the evenings since DS normally plays quite a bit alone during the day, especially if I'm with the baby or doing stuff around the house. 

    He also goes to bed around 8:30 most nights.  

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  • We do a lot of weird creative play - mainly because DH is a big kid himself.

    We play "monkeys and mangoes" where DH straps on the head lamp he uses for running in the dark and his ski face mask, the boys turn out the lights and DH hides.  The boys go looking for him (usually holding my hand because it's pitch black) and when they find him he jumps out screaming like a monkey and chases after them.  If he catches them they call out what fruit they are before he eats them (hence the mangoes part of the game's name).  If they out run him and can reach me they're "safe on Mamma base".

    Another favorite is to build a big fort and pretend to be "little pigs".  DH (aka: the big bad wolf) does the obligatory "Little pigs, little pigs LET ME IN!" and they respond per the story until he blows and destroys the fort they built.  The giggling with the destruction of the fort goes on for quite a while.

    My guys will play either of those games for at least an hour if we let them.

    If I'm exhausted and just not up for play time myself they'll happily play for an hour in a bubble bath so I've been known to start bath time early on a rough day. 

    The older one loves crafts and if I think they need to dial down a bit I'll sit down with them and pull some kind of craft activity idea off the internet.

    I think our objective is to partake in their play actively after dinner since it's the only chance we get on work days (I work part time).

     Try doing some imagination focused games and see how it goes!  You're about at the right age for it.  Get down on his level and get silly!  It's a rare opportunity to let your inner child out and before long he won't want you to be his play mate any more.

     

    As for schedule - we do dinner around 6, "fruit time" around 7:30 (if they've made happy plates) and bath right after.  Bed time ends up around 8:30 depending on how long we let them play in the bath. 

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  • DH is usually responsible for after dinner play if he's home. I'm home all day and need the break. DH and DS are very musical. Daddy plays the guitar and DS has a miniature one that he "plays" too. One of their favorite things to do is watch YouTube videos and have a dance party. It burns tons of energy.
  • DS needs to wind down after dinner, bath, etc. If he's playing he'll be too hyped up to go to sleep. Honestly, I let him watch half an hour of TV right before bed & that does the trick.

    ETA: He goes to bed at 8

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