Toddler engagement a struggle during the winter and pandemic

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Winter and a pandemic, two things combined that make it tough to find things to do. Add on top of that a toddler always on the move, and you might be scrambling.

“Very rambunctious, does not sit still, constantly, constantly moving,” said Jess Thrower describing her almost 2-year-old son, Elliott.

“I love spending time with him. He’s so funny,” said Thrower.

Jess is a stay-at-home mom, and spending every day together can mean running out of activity ideas. Thrower asked other parents for help on social media.

“[I] couldn’t think of anything else to do, and he is very tired of being inside the house. And I’m tired of being inside the house. So, wanted to see if anybody had any ideas.”

Many posted they also ran out of ideas on what to do, but they’re with her in solidarity.

“It’s cool other people understand where you’re coming from. It sucks we’re all in that boat,” said Thrower.

Visit Fort Wayne has put together a variety of blogs to help parents. You can click here for a list of ideas for preschoolers, it may slightly be outdated due to the pandemic. Other possible ideas for the winter can be found by clicking here. And if you don’t feel like venturing out because of safety concerns, you can click here for a list of at-home activities.

The winter list also features a list of trails that can be found.

“You might even see a frozen waterfall. There’s some cool hikes you can take. And we’ve even kind of sorted them by a little shorter distance, longer distance, depending on what the kids are up for,” said Kristen Guthrie, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Visit Fort Wayne.

This is age is also a crucial time for brain development.

“Most of our brain development actually happens before the age of five, about 90% of it. So, if we can kind of control what information is being put into their brain, and how they’re receiving that, we can help with behaviors and acting appropriately, and the habits and stuff,” said Nicole Pitts, a pediatric physician assistant with Parkview Physicians Group Huntington.

Development is also another concern for Thrower.

“He started walking during the pandemic, started talking during quarantine. So, there was no time for him to play with kids before this. And now I feel it’s really crucial that kids get out and socialize with each other…I know that’s really important in their development. So, I’m hoping that doesn’t stunt him in any way. I’m sure other parents are worried about that, too,” said Thrower.

Pitts said to get creative when it comes to engaging toddlers. She said it might require you to think a few years back, however.

“Be silly. Kinda tap into, what I would say your inner child. Try to remember what you did as a kid, and maybe do those things with your children. But there are so many things that we have at home already that we can do to be creative,” said Pitts.

The city of Fort Wayne also offers various programs through its parks and recreation department. You can click here to learn more about the offerings.

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