Learning to Play with a Toddler

trainI just sent my most recent column off to Local Parent Magazine, which reminded me that I hadn’t posted any of my more recent ones of late.  The October one is on the front page of the site, so relatively easy to find.  I’ve added links to the August/September, June/July, April/May, and February/March pieces below.

From Learning to Play with a Toddler:

“I’ve had mountains of muffins over the past few weeks. I’ve had more cups of tea – each with several scoops of sugar – than I can possibly count. Ordinarily, I’d be worried about my gradually softening midsection, but thankfully these sweet treats have all been imaginary.

With Krista prepping to go back to teaching after an extended maternity leave, daddy/daughter time has been on a continuous rise. And 20-month-old Clara’s favourite activity is cooking in her miniature kitchen. Her specialty? Muffins. And tea.

I’m going to be honest here. When Krista reminded me that I would be spending a lot more hours with Clara, I was a bit nervous. Quite frankly, I had no clue how we were going to fill all the extra hours together. Talking to a few other dads, I realized I was not alone. Apparently, knowing how to play with one-year-olds is not intuitive.

My first instinct was to plan fun outings for the two of us. As far as instincts go, it was a good one. Late summer and early fall saw us taking long trips to the park, the splash pad, and the zoo. These adventures were a hit. My daddy stock went through the roof. For a few hours afterwards, Clara, who is a major mommy’s girl, would have a new favourite word: “daddydaddydaddydaddy!”

But as much fun as they are, these adventures are hugely time-consuming. They’re also somewhat unfair to Krista, who also wants to share in some of the special planned trips. “It doesn’t always have to be something big and special,” she advised. “Just hang out and sometimes let her take the lead.” We have a bit of a routine now, Clara and I. If we have a half a day or so together, we will often do something fun. I’m hoping to fit in one more zoo trip this fall. Sometimes, though, our adventures are a little more mundane, such as trips to the grocery store or market. We take our silliness sideshow on the road and multitask…”

For the full column, please visit the Local Parent site.

August/September: The Farm to Table Toddler

June/July: The Ultimate Camping Greenhorn

April/May: Exploring at the Speed of Life

February/March: Forget About the Jones