Scheduling your baby’s naptime to coincide with the late-morning cartoon lineup is probably the easiest way to juggle preschooler television time with a TV-free baby—and it comes with the added bonus of giving you a break. “With my three-year old daughter glued to Dora for a half-hour and my 10-month son soundly sleeping, I can relax for a few minutes and surf the Web,” says Marley Robinson of Arlington, Massachusetts. “After TV-time is over and the baby is awake, we’re all recharged for the rest of the day,” she adds.
Turn Play Dates into Double Dates
Your preschooler is off and running as soon as his friend arrives for a play date, but what about your younger child’s social life? While young infants are too young to play together in any meaningful way, babies do enjoy the sight and company of other children their own age. Help your little one take baby steps into the world of peer friendships—and still be sure your preschooler is engaged in age-appropriate play—by joining mixed-age play groups or by making play dates with moms whose children are similar in age to your own.
Sherri Hudson, a family counselor from Chesapeake, Virginia, remembers the first “double date play date” she arranged for her two children. “While the big kids ran around, I thought the other mom and I would just sit in the shade with our babies and compare notes,” Sherri relates, but instead of talking about their kids, both women were fascinated by how their babies interacted with each other. “My son sat there and chewed his toys as he stared intently at the other baby—who was also chewing her toys and staring intently back at him. You just knew their little brains were furiously processing every last detail of what they saw. From the expression on my seven-month-old’s face, I could tell he was thinking, ‘Who are you? Are you me? Am I you?’ I know that play date was an important moment in my child’s social development and self-awareness.”