My oldest started first grade a couple of weeks ago. This means she’s back into the groove of earlier mornings, school uniforms, and a more structured schedule. It also means that toddler and I are on our own five days a week for almost eight hours a day. After spending the summer playing with and following her older sister around the first couple of days were an adjustment for both of us. Without the trips back and forth to playdates, and camps for my oldest I spent a few days feeling like I was forgetting something important. Without her big sister to play with, the toddler spent those first days of the school year wandering from room to room not knowing what to do with herself. Then there were the issues of school pick-up and drop-off time mixing with toddler nap times and meal times.

Playing together

Clearly we needed to do some adjusting to our day and some new activities for just the two of us.

So what did we do? Well, after some discussion with my husband we decided to adjust the toddler’s nap schedule. We decided to give one long mid day nap a trial run to possibly eliminate the problem of afternoon nap conflicting with school pick-up time. The transition is officially not on a trial run anymore. One mid-day nap is a full-fledged win in this household.

The problem with having two kids nearly five years apart in age is that activities are usually not intended to welcome both of them. Toddler story time is not open to big kids. Toddlers are not exactly welcome in a movie theater. I spent a lot of the summer juggling conflicting activities for different age groups.  My second order of business after school started was figuring out all those story times, sing-alongs and tumbling classes meant just for little ones. The toddler and I will be making the rounds.

And the third thing to help transition my toddler into a new routine was searching for a play group. My oldest took part in a weekly playgroup for the first three to four years of her life. The friendships she made were great and the time I had to chat and connect with other moms in the same phases was invaluable. Now we’re heading to the park hoping to meet people and searching online listings for meet-ups groups. It feels a whole lot like being on the dating scene but a good playgroup is worth its weight in gold.

After a couple of weeks it feels like we’re starting to get into a groove. Our days are filled with both fun and productive things and we’re both enjoying our time together as just the two of us.

Have your older kids gone back to school yet? What are your favorite things to do with your toddler to stay busy?

About 

As the mother of a newly minted first grader and sweet one-year-old Catherine has no idea who the Real Housewives of any city or county are – unless you are talking about the women in her playgroup. She has food on the brain at all times measures her success as a parent by the variety of foods her daughter's will eat. Catherine firmly believes motherhood is a jungle and if she has any hopes of survival she has to keep evolving. You can find her at EvolvingMotherhood.com, where she shares her evolving life.

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One Response to Figuring out the new routine when older siblings go back to school

  1. Michelle says:

    So what playgroups/activities have you found for Laney? 1 midday nap is a win in our house too. Orion now naps 2.5-3 hours. The only time it doesn’t work is if he has a super early wake up but on those days we adjust. Orion and I are now free Mondays and Fridays so we should get together more!

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