Naptime and bedtime can be a challenging time for parents with more than one child. Once you have two or more children, getting through the pre-sleep routine can feel like a marathon. And then when one partner is not able to be there, you can find yourself struggling to figure out what to do with your older child while you are settling your little one.
One strategy that can make managing naptime and bedtime alone run more smoothly is a ‘busy box’. The ‘busy box’ is a box that contains novel quiet activities that only come out before naps and bedtime. This is helpful to occupy an older child when a parent is settling a younger child or infant to sleep. The key is that these activities are special for use only during pre-sleep times/quiet times. They can be much loved activities or new ones.
Busy Box Ideas:
- Puzzles (ensuring that they are the just-right challenge and will not cause frustration)
- A basket of play silks/scarves
- Lacing games/beads
- Open ended activities such as: Duplo, bristle blocks, magna tiles
- Magnet letters, shapes, pictures
- Pom pom activities: sorting colours with tongs and placing into a container
- Special selection of books: lift-the-flap books, simple look and find books, sticker books, Melissa and Doug’s On-The-Go Water Wow books
- Listening to special music or an audio book: the library often has a good selection of loved children’s books with the accompanying audio recording
It is important to keep the activities fresh and interesting as well as limiting them only to before naps and bedtime. Additionally, although the purpose of the ‘busy box’ is to keep an older child entertained, ensure that they are still being supervised, as little hands can quickly get into trouble.
You can find more ‘busy box’ ideas on the Sleepdreams Professional Sleep Consultant pinterest account: Busy Boxes for when you are putting your youngest to sleep