10 Tips to Help Babies and Toddlers Happily Play

10 Tips to Help Babies and Toddlers Happily Play

My daughter who has a two year old and three month old asked me the other day what the tips were that I gave her to teach Sophi (her two year old) to play happily when she was six to eight months old, and I told her a few things I remembered, but I thought more about it and remembered the rest–so I decided to make a video of these tips!

I have a detailed outline (of course!). It has links in it to other videos, podcasts, and articles that I have done on related topics that I think mamas of toddlers will find helpful.

If you have many kiddos and are trying to get some concentrated teaching time, I think this video will help! These tips really helped me.

Love and hope,


A. Why Does It Matter

1. Contentment is the first character quality that we have the opportunity to build into children’s lives
2. Contentment starts in babyhood/toddlerhood when wants and needs start to diverge https://characterinkblog.com/podcast-faith-character-building-littles/ 
3. Playing as a baby/toddler is the beginning of life-long learning
4. What you give a baby/toddler a taste for will likely stay with them
5. Play time is developmental time for babies

a. Fine motor skills
b. Large motor skills
c. Cause and effect
d. Problem solving

6. We want to teach kids to be happy in a variety of situations—not just always having attention
7. Crucial for older kids’ relationships with littles
8. Doesn’t detract from your spending time with baby/toddler or lessen your impact—it enhances it as you watch your baby and toddler do things independently and as you start to be able to get things done etc.


B. Tips and Tricks

1. Do all of your responsibilities first—we can’t solve any behavior problems or add new elements to our kids’ lives/days until we have done everything we should do to make them successful—our responsibilities come first

a. Not keeping them up late then being upset that they’re grouchy the next day
b. Not running around when they’re tired and being surprised that they’re not cooperating

2. Mommy time with baby first
3. Toys in basket in corner of bed upon waking
4. Don’t try to teach playtime when baby is tired or hungry or grouchy
5. If needed, start with ten minute intervals and switch positions/alternate time with you; make playtime within view of you and
6. Rotate baskets and tubs of toys only for playtime
7. Schedule playtime, storytime, mommy time, naptime as it emerges and seems to work—toddlers and preschoolers thrive on routine and knowing expectations (work towards this)
8. Schedule electronics

a. Use them as part of your overall parenting strategy, not as a last ditch effort at peace
b. Schedule Bible story in morning before nap and story book character in afternoon/evening during “witching hour,” etc.

9. Use short playpen times as needed
10. Collect amazing toys and various book types (plastic, interactive, soft, felt, cardboard, sounds, etc.) https://characterinkblog.com/day-one-hundred-one-links-and-ideas-for-activities-for-room-time-for-preschoolers/ 


C. Links and More Info

1. More babies and toddlers

a. What to Do With Wonderful One Year Old Part I: https://characterinkblog.com/wondering-wednesday-q-a-what-to-do-with-a-wonderful-one-year-old/ 
b. What to Do With Wonderful One Year Old Part II: https://characterinkblog.com/wondering-wednesday-q-a-what-to-do-with-a-wonderful-one-year-old-part-ii/ 
c. Playtime/room time activities lists: https://characterinkblog.com/day-one-hundred-one-links-and-ideas-for-activities-for-room-time-for-preschoolers/ 

2. From Toddlers to Preschoolers

a. Room time podcast: https://characterinkblog.com/podcast-rerun-room-time-toddlers-preschoolers/ 
b. Toddlers and bedtime video: https://characterinkblog.com/video-toddlers-bedtime/ 
c. Toddler chore poster: https://characterinkblog.com/age-appropriate-chores-for-toddlers/ 
d. Toddlers’ simple tastes: https://characterinkblog.com/character-training-for-toddlers-and-preschoolers-boundaries-simple-tastes-and-more-partial-reprint/ 
e. Character training with toddlers: https://characterinkblog.com/character-q-a-how-can-i-start-character-training-with-my-toddler/ 
f. Kindness in toddlers: https://characterinkblog.com/q-is-for-quit-fighting-setting-toddlers-tastes-for-kindness/ 

3. Subscribe for family and language arts/writing help at https://characterinkblog.com  

Summer Family Bucket List To Grow

Summer Family Bucket List To Grow

Summer Family Bucket List

I have loved seeing families’ bucket lists on Facebook! They make me wish that bucket lists were popular when my kids were little!

(Well, I guess we made our own Bucket List with our Summer School Goals—oh, my kids loved those!)

And I love having fun as a family…I mean, honestly, we were a FUN family. And we still go to Disney World as a family every five years!!! (Thanks to Plexus, we are moving that up to every three years!)

But for this post, I would like to propose a different bucket list than the traditional, fun, memory-making bucket list. It is the Summer Family Bucket List to Grow.


12 Tips for Building Emotional Intelligence in Our Children


There is a lot of talk in the world of “adulting” about emotional intelligence. People who are emotionally intelligent know how others are feeling. They know what to say and what not to say in a social media thread. They are aware of their surroundings, etc.

I recently came upon yet another list of commonalities of those with emotional intelligence. As I read through the list (they truly are good commonalities), I couldn’t help but think about how many of them were our goals for our children before we had ever learned about such a thing as emotional intelligence. (Many of them are, after all, grounded in the golden rule!)


Singing Through The Christmas Story

For not really being “singers”—and for most of us not really knowing that much about music—we are a pretty “sing-ee” family! We love to sing hymns and worship songs while we’re driving or sitting around the living room. If one of our pianists is here (Kara and Cami), it’s even better! At Christmas time, we really getting into the singing spirit! We love to memorize a complete carol (all the verse) and sing it together; we love to drive around looking at lights and have someone lead out when a certain decoration or sight reminds him of a carol; we love to “sing through the Christmas story.”


Christmas in the Car {reprint}


Tonight as we drove home from an extended family Christmas gathering, reading aloud and singing, I was reminded of an old article I wrote for our newsletter several years ago—Christmas in the Car. I will post it in its entirety below—gotta sneak in those family times any chance we get as our kids get older!


Charlie Brown Christmas (reprint)


“Linus’ reading of the story of the Nativity was, quite simply, the dramatic highlight of the season.” Harriet Van Horne in the “New York World Telegram” December 1965

Every year our family enjoys reading about Christmas traditions and songs—how they began, what they mean, etc. One of my favorite readings is the story of how “A Charlie Brown Christmas” came about—and continues to bless people today. Read my “story behind the Charlie Brown Christmas” below aloud to your family—then watch the movie (or at least check out the given links from youtube). Have fun!

On Thursday, December 9, 1965 (nearly fifty years ago!), “A Charlie Brown Christmas” made its debut on CBS on television screens all over the United States. Surprising the network executives, this darling Christmas story was an immediate hit. It seems that its creator, Charles Schulz, battled with the powers-that-be at the network concerning the show’s religious content (CBS thought it was too religious) and the kids’ voices (citing that they should be professional actors, not children). Additionally, they felt that Vince Guaraldi’s theme music was too modern for kids’ tastes. (The jazz soundtrack has, by the way, become a classic.)

Rumor has it that through the years it has been suggested that Linus’ reading of the Christmas story from Luke be taken out of the movie. However, forty-five years later, this classic still contains that powerful passage from Luke, those sweet child voices, and that catchy music*—and each year the true story of Jesus’ birth and the reason for the season—is proclaimed via the secular media.



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