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Ten Tips for Bringing up a Very Active (Overactive!) Toddler

My Own Super-Active Son

Isaac is lovely. He's affectionate, happy, always laughing, interested in everything, fun to be with, and gorgeous. He is a 3 year old bundle of loving energy.

He is also incredibly active. A woman who has looked after hundreds of children over 26 years as a nanny has described him as the most energetic child she has known.

Lovely as it is, it can also be a little exhausting to have a toddler who thinks sleep is for the weak, a moment not spent running is a moment wasted, and who wants everyone to join in every overactive thing he does!

So here are my top ten tips for surviving and bringing up an incredibly active toddler.

The name "Isaac" means, "he who will laugh", and he does.

The name "Isaac" means, "he who will laugh", and he does.

Do Something Active Every Single Day

Idle days are trouble-later-in-the-evening days.

I know Isaac's not done enough running about when he makes an ambulance noise ("ne-nor ne-nor ne-nor") and runs up and down, up and down, through the living room and hallway, over and over again.

It's a sure sign of an active evening and night to come.

So come hell or high water, or more appropriately, come rain, sleet or snow, Isaac gets out and about every day.

The ideal activity for him is something that requires more exercise on his part than on the part of the poor sod trying to wear him out.

If the weather isn't absolutely foul, the park's always a good bet. We have a great one near us which is children-only - adults can't go into Coram's Fields unless they are accompanying a child.

There are lots of great climbing frames, so I can play with Isaac, and interact with him, but make sure he gets a good lot of energy spent on climbing, running across, and going down the slide.

His new determination to walk up the slide is particularly tiring (for him) and he's getting quite good at it as well.

Learn to Exploit Relatives

I'm the eldest in my family, with sisters 2 and 6 years younger than me, and a brother 7 years younger. Isaac is, to date, the only grandchild as well.

So when we are staying at my parents' place, I rope in all said relatives to do their bit.

That way I get to read the paper, have a cuppa in peace, and even chat to my mama or sisters!

My dad's "throwing a ball over the house" trick is a particular favourite of Isaac's, and he loves running to collect the ball to bring it back to my Dad for another try.

Isaac does, perhaps, over-rate my dad's abilities in throwing - a couple of weeks ago he asked my dad to throw his ball over our block of flats, but 6 stories of a mansion block in central London is pushing it a bit!

Then there are the horses to run around with, accompanied by his ever-loving aunties, and his Uncle Bruv is great for wrestling, play fighting, and all that boy stuff they both seem to love.

Borrow an Energetic and Child-Friendly Dog

My parents have a 5 month old border collie puppy. Dylan is absolutely gorgeous, but, like Isaac, has far too much energy.

Throwing them out into the garden together has proved a great idea - they chase each other, run round in circles, and altogether wear each other out equally.

Oddly, looking after the infant and the puppy together is less work than just looking after one or the other!

Dylan is remarkably tolerant of being grabbed, having his tail pulled, and being generally moidered. Which is just as well, really.

Find Out What Really Tires Him or Her Out....

If you need a quiet evening, an evening with adults-only, or just a chance at a decent night's sleep, you need to know what really knackers the little charmer out.

With Isaac, it's swimming. He can swim very well, and he absolutely adores it. And he'll stay in the pool for ages, until completely and utterly exhausted.

The evening after swimming, he's quiet, calm, and goes to sleep easily and quickly.

As a further tip, get someone else (Isaac's dad, for us) to do it, then you get some time to yourself in the afternoon, AND time with each other in the evening!

Surfer Dude!

Surfer Dude!

Toddler wetsuits are very sweet

Toddler wetsuits are very sweet

Make Sure Your Energy Bomb Eats Enough

I know a toddler is supposed to eat about a quarter of an adult's portion.

Unfortunately, Isaac's not read that himself, and won't take my word for it. He eats a lot - and I mean, a lot.

This evening, as I write this, he had 4 sausages, half a greengrocer's shop of peas, and a few carrot sticks.

Then he managed to squeeze in a yoghurt and some raisins.

Meal times have to be insisted on, though. Isaac has to be in his high chair, and we all (whoever is there) eat together.

Otherwise, he is too easily distracted by toys, or jumping around.

When hungry, Isaac is irritable and annoying. I blame his father - who is equally irritable and annoying when not fed large quantities of grub on a regular basis.

Fortunately, though, my other half is not prone to the odd tantrum when he feels half-starved, but he does manage to whinge about it!

Avoid Too Much Sugar or Chemicals

I know that if I eat a packet of brightly-coloured sugar-laden sweets, I have an energy surge, then a slump.

The last thing an active little darling needs is a sugar rush, so we keep the sugar, food chemicals, and caffeine down to a minimum (so, yes, he's a chocolate-deprived child....)

As well as the immediate advantages, I also think it's great in a wider sense to encourage lasting, healthy-eating habits. Isaac thinks great sweet snacks are things like bananas and grapes, which is all to the good!

Encourage Private Play

I think it’s very important for toddlers and young children to be encouraged to play and entertain themselves on their own.

Especially in the case of an overactive toddler. Unless encouraged to settle down and concentrate on one thing, he might just prefer to run around yelling all the time.

But in the interests of developing an ability to concentrate and a capacity to amuse himself without constant input from others, I think it’s very important.

In my experience, it’s best to start a child off on something before leaving him to play on his own.

If I just point Isaac at some of his toys, and say play with that, he often looks a bit puzzled and messes around for a few minutes.

However, if we start playing with his toy trains or cars or whatever it is together, or to start to build a Lego structure, he is far more likely to settle down and enjoy it and to go off on explorations of his own.

Recently, for example, he has taken to assembling Duplo Bricks in what he calls his grandparents’ house.

I’m not sure my parents would be delighted to live in a red, yellow and brown brick house missing half a roof and one wall, and with a distinct shortage of doors, but he’s clearly developing an imagination even if it involves putting a cow on the roof.

Toddler and dog wearing each other out....

Toddler and dog wearing each other out....

Get Your Toddler to Help Around the House

I also think it’s valuable to get children to help around the house as young as possible.

It teaches them that life doesn’t come with a constant supply of mummies and daddies who are happy to do all the cooking, clearing up, tidying away toys, and act as a laundry fairy as well.

Isaac really enjoys helping mummy, even if something that would take me 10 minutes without his help takes me half an hour once I have the benefit of his assistance.

Since he was young, we’ve always encouraged him to put his toys away in his toy box, and his books back on the shelf.

He also always carries his own plates into the kitchen and puts them next to the sink, and really enjoys helping put washing in the washing machine and changing sheets.

In addition, it means that when he is doing something quiet and private on his own, you can benefit from a few minutes to yourself, rather than rushing around trying to sort clean clothes out.

fantastic toddler dance party

Are you blessed as we are?

"Helping" his grandmother in the greenhouse.

"Helping" his grandmother in the greenhouse.

A Long, Calming Bedtime Routine

The biggest problem we have with an extremely active child is sleep. He doesn’t seem to need as much as the books have always said he does.

By 6 months old he was down to one nap a day, and by 12 months, he had mostly dropped his second nap as well. He doesn’t even seem to need a long sleep at night despite not napping during the day.

It’s my firm belief that naps are just as important to parents as toddlers, but you can’t force someone to sleep if they are not tired.

In order to transition into sleep at night, we have a long, calming bedtime routine.

It starts with reading a book quietly on the sofa, then a warm bath with lavender baby bubbles (which claim to help a child to relax, but I couldn’t swear to it) and followed by climbing into his nightclothes, brushing his teeth, singing some quiet evening songs, and a further calm book before we go to bed.

It’s impractical to expect him to go from roaring around to tired in one jump, and not only does the routine calm him down, but he knows what’s coming next, and is therefore far more prepared to go to sleep than if bedtime came out of the blue.

Rest When Your Child Does!

By getting your toddler to help you when you’re shopping or washing up after dinner, when he does enjoy his private play as above, you can take the chance to sit down with a newspaper and a cup of tea and enjoy 10 minutes of solitude.

It’s a wonderful aim, and I can’t claim that solitude is a big part of my life, but as an aspiration, it is important to have some downtime, not just for toddlers, but for their exhausted parents.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Audrey on March 02, 2020:

Hi thank you for your helpful suggestions. It is a relief to know other parents are exhausted as well. So i don't feel lazy. How do i get my house work done. Cooking and cleaning etc.?

Dad on February 10, 2020:

My boy is 18 months old and neither myself, my wife nor our 2 other children can keep up with him. He gets into EVERYTHING. He runs everywhere throughout the house, pulls chairs around (he's strong), climbs on everything he can - couch, tables, coffee table, etc. Grabs photos from off the walls and runs around with them.

When he feeds, he will stay still for maybe half a sandwich, then starts trying to escape the straps on the high chair - which he can do in about 3 seconds... I've even purchased a chest strap to stop him from escaping but somehow he still Houdini's outta there.

He can jump and open any door in the house, so we can't restrict him to certain areas. We had a baby fence but he learnt to climb out of there quickly ($160 wasted thank you...). We can't baby-proof any areas of the house, because he can climb ANYTHING - he'll just pull himself up with his arms then climb over.

Bed time is equally a nightmare. He has one 30-min nap in the day, which is usually when he just wears himself out either mid morning or mid afternoon. But at night he just will not sleep... We have a routine - book, teeth, bed... But by bed he is still at 10000 watts and buzzing around the house. We lay him down, he climbs out of the cot... removed the side (so he doesn't accidentally fall), and now he just gets out and starts trying to run around. I try rocking him to sleep and he will twist and turn in my arms for 30-45 minutes before I give up.

We give him space to run around and play during the day but it's a constant battle to keep him away from the gas oven dials, or from the jars in the pantry, or the glass picture frames on the wall, or any number of other things.

I just need some other outlet for him so that he can really wear himself out without getting into something he's not supposed to.

KB on September 06, 2018:

My 2 year old still won't go to sleep on his own. We have tried so many sleep training methods but his brain won't stop! He will wake up in the middle of the night and start counting or saying every word he knows, which is over 300! Sometimes he is awake for 2+ hours in the middle of the night and still doesn't take more than 1 hour naps! I still don't know what tires him out :( He is constantly moving and even if he runs up and down our long driveway it doesn't matter! Any suggestions on how to figure out what will tire him? We do a consistent bedtime routine, etc. but it doesn't matter. Thanks!

Jodie Dyke on November 16, 2012:

Thanks for the blog :) I have a 13 month old little girl the sweetest most adorable little girl in the world but my word she is a bag full of energy and it is noticed by everybody. I'd be at a playgroup and all the other children will be sitting playing nicely and my daughter is trying to find the escape route I literally can't sit down for 5 mins. I'm going to join my local gym get a family membership and take her swimming and toddler gym to wear her out.

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on October 23, 2012:

Awesome hub, and wonderful idea on the bedtime routine.

rebecca on April 17, 2012:

Thanks this sounds just like my life nice to know others are in the same boat

ksmomof5 on March 29, 2012:

Thank you so much for sharing this. I had to laugh when I read this because your little guy sounds a lot like mine. I really don't like feeling frustrated with him all of the time and I love him dearly, but oh my goodness is he active! He is the youngest of our 5 children, and I just don't remember the other kids ever being quite so crazy (or maybe I have just blocked it from my memory-HaHa!). I spend so much time chasing after him and trying to keep him out of trouble/danger that I haven't even given much thought to planning activities to keep him busy. One of our biggest issues with him right now is that he will just take off and run from us wherever we are, and that keeps me from taking him out. He has no fear and he wants to do everything himself. He won't stay in a stroller, grocery cart, etc., so it is very difficult to take him on outings. I would really appreciate any suggestions/advice that you may have on this issue. It really helps to hear from other moms who have dealt with the same thing. Thank you so much.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 02, 2012:

Sorry ot hear that Tired Mum - it's hard work, much as you love the little devils.

Isaac was also not a big eater until he was nearly 2. He got distracted from eating easily, too, so we had to keep reminding him that his lunch / dinner was in front of him, and harrassing him to eat.

Have you tried reading poetry, or singing to him, at bedtime? that can be very calming.

Tiredmum on December 17, 2011:

My son is 22 months old and he is over active. He only has 10 - 12 hours sleep including nap.

He would not sit down for over 5-10mins, it made everything very hard for us when we traveled with him.

The biggest problem is when He is tired, he doesn't want to sleep, he likes to run around, anything would make him awake.

He doesn't eat much, he drinks a lot though.

Any advice?

linda alleman on August 10, 2011:

We take care of our 19 mo. greatgrandchild every other week, 24 hrs a day. It's a long story, by his mom, doesn't even know he exists. anyway, he goes from pillow to post every week. He is exactly like Isaac, and also very loveable and he does understand when he does wrong. Our problem is that he touches everything, even after we say NO DON'T TOUCH. it's like a game-he touches it, then runs away laughing. we started time out in a chair, and he loves it. he doesn't move and is quite content in the chair. after about 5 min. we tell him he can get up. well, he does the same thing again. it's like he's daring you. that's the main problem we have with him. we play with him all day, he eats at the table, picks things up and has quiet time before bed. then either falls asleep on on us or he goes in his bed. now, he does wake up several times during night crying(whining). we give him a bottle, with just a little juice and he goes right back to sleep. what can we do about him touching and waking up at night. thank you

littleleza from Victoria, Australia on July 03, 2011:

You know your toddler very well. This is a great hub and I know exactly what you mean. My two children are very active as well and everything you've mentioned we do too. It's nice to know I'm not alone! I certainly wish I had their energy! Thanks for sharing.

Kathy on June 09, 2011:

Oh thank goodness!!! I have been searching everywhere for tips like these. I was rolling on the floor laughing when you were describing your son eating... Jake is going, going, going every second of the day (since he was tiny), hates going to sleep (we still walk him at 1 year, believe it or not), and would eat for an hour if we didn't just eventually stop feeding him. Loved hearing your family's story and great tips!!

wilypixie from Portsmouth on March 23, 2011:

Great tips! My son isn't one yet but he has been hectic since he was born so I reckon I'll be needing your ideas soon!

kaiyan717 from West Virginia on January 18, 2011:

Just to let you know, you are not alone. My son eats like a horse and runs like a greyhound. He is fast approaching two and thanks for a few ideas to wear him out. What goes up , must go down right?

ckass16 on March 25, 2010:

I have 4 boys all in the same age range two 5 y.o.s one 4 y.o and one 3 y.o with one on the way someone give me some advice on how to stay clam in my everyday life right now I feel like I want to give up i'm always stressed out and never get any mommy time what can I do?

Leenie Pooh on January 19, 2010:

I have one more suggestion to add to the mix. Exercising with your toddler. Indoor floor exercises, outdoor course, childcare at the gym, they're all good for tiring him out and the side benefit is you stay in shape too. Looking better, feeling better and more energy to keep up with him the rest of the day!

2centssurplus from Washington on September 07, 2009:

Thank you! It's always comforting to know that I'm not the only one with extra busy kids! I forget that they are normal sometimes. lol That was extremely helpful

LondonGirl (author) from London on July 13, 2009:

Glad you enjoyed it! My son plays a lot with my parents' 9 month old border collie. As he's been used to Isaac since he was very young, they are great together.

Teletubbies Toys on July 13, 2009:

Lovelly hub... My daughter is tow and a half and incredibly active. I agree with all the advice given there, especially about getting a very active dog... Or even a patient one that will not mind being jumped on (labradors and golden retrievers work well for that). I really miss my dogs for that, we recently moved countries, and had to leave them with my parents-in-law.

LondonGirl (author) from London on July 10, 2009:

Wow, that sounds frantic! I wouldn't be happy with that number of children running around without supervision, and a bloody nose would bother me if it were my son (-:

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on June 26, 2009:

I went to Disneyland with my sister and her friend, which was a big mistake. My sister's friend kept leaving all her kids with me at Disneyland because due to my back injury I cannot really ride the rides, so I became the impromptu babysitter that day.

I about had a panic attack when my nephew and the three other children ran up the steps of the Robinson Family Tree House whilst having to hold onto my little niece's hand. These kids were very active because within the span of fifteen minutes one of the boys had fallen down at the bottom of the trail with a bleeding nose.

I think people were looking at me like I was nutty because there I was panicking and calling his mom, but I had no idea had to handle four really over active kids all at once. My niece was so little so I had to hold onto her hand, while getting very frustrated with my nephew refusing to listen. He usually was not that way, but for some reason with those kids he was just tuning me out. When my sister's friend came to retrieve the kids she acted like it was no big deal her youngest had a bloody nose and simply complained I took her off the ride early. Later in the day I learned this lady just let her kids run around the park and really did not care because that is how she did things all the time.

LondonGirl (author) from London on June 03, 2009:

Thanks very much - I'm glad you found it interesting!

Mohideen Basha from TRICHY, TAMIL NADU, INDIA. on June 03, 2009:

great hub with good ideas, i love this page. thumbs up and posted it in my facebook wall.

Lisa HW from Massachusetts on April 22, 2009:

Good ideas. I really agree with the "encouraging private play" part. It does break up a cycle of "hyper", and, I think, give them practice focusing.

My daughter was my active one. She was a non-stop mover before she was born, a never-sitter from the time she could stand up; and a never-stop-walking-girl from the time she learned to walk. She didn't even particularly get into things "wrong". It was just that I had to always be running after her. Her two brothers were normally active, but it's safe to say she was ridiculous (and sweet, sweet, sweet, too, though). :)

LondonGirl (author) from London on April 18, 2009:

Hi Moon - sounds as if we should get together, and let the 3 year olds wear each other out!

Moon Daisy from London on April 17, 2009:

I can relate to this hub a lot as I also have an active three year old.  We find indoor soft-play centres a godsend, especially when the weather's not great.

People always comment on how much energy she has, and at family gatherings, even ones that go on a bit late, she's always the one still dancing and bouncing around when everybody else is flagging!

Lgali on March 25, 2009:

nice hub

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 23, 2009:

Wow, 2 hyper out of 3! Lucky you.....

That's a big gap between your older two and your youngest, though! Must have been strange going back to nappies and babygros.

MissJamie on March 23, 2009:

I loved this hub:) I have an 11 year old daughter, a 10 year old son, and a 11 month old son. My daughter hardly ever slept and had tons of energy. Nothing like your little Isaac though. But she would get up in the middle of the night and scrounge around the house for something to do. Once when they stayed at their grandmas house, she was up at around 12 midnight, looking through photo my first son was the most perfect baby ever. He had no problem entertaining himself, wasn't hyper, and was just super sweet. My daughter was sweet too but she was a handful, and they are the same age for 9 days so it was like having twins! Thank God my first boy wasn't equally as hyper or I would have NO hair

Anyway, my 11 month old is like my daughter in so many ways it's eerie. But he's even MORE hyper. Takes after his father. My mother-in-law told me that he (my husband) was one of the most hyper babies ever!! So I think my little guy is going to take after him moreso than the other two.

Sorry to ramble so long, my point was that although I do practice some of your tips already, I'm definitely going to try some of the ones that you suggested here:)

Great job!

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 21, 2009:

I'm not a great one for coffee, tea is my poison (-:

Some children are calm, or have long calm periods, and sleep a lot. I don't have one of those.....

kiwi91 from USA on March 20, 2009:

Wow, this sounds tiring! You must be drinking coffee all day... at least I would be! Now I know why my sister is trying to pass off the kids sometimes, sounds like she needs it.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 11, 2009:

Thanks - glad you found it handy! It's great having family around to take some of the strain, it gives a little break to sit down, catch your breath, and have a cup of tea and read the paper!

charanjeet kaur from Delhi on March 11, 2009:

hello again london girl, omg what a darling child you have, isaac is a very cute name and he is living up to what it means my having a million dollar smile.

My daughter is going to be two years this april and i wish both our kids could meet, they are just the same. i guess the have so much energy that makes us adults look so pale. My daugther too is never still for a moment, she has to be prancing running and jumping. i have a joint family so they always come to my rescue. gr8 hub and interesting ideas..

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 08, 2009:

Hi Sarah - Violet certainly sounds like Isaac, into evertything, all the time (see the photo of him demolishing my handbag at the top of the hub, for example!)

Isaac still crashes around like a bull in a china shop, and never seems to mind banging himself or bruising himself.

Hi Jim - glad you enjoyed the hub. Your daughter also sounds like a handful!

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 08, 2009:

Hi Earnestshub - my parents, sisters and brother have the same attitude of wanting to make the most of their time with Isaac - hence my "exploit 'em" paragraph above! I hope the babysitting went well and you all had a good evening.

Dalriada Books from UK on March 08, 2009:

My daughter loves fetch-the-ball game too. It's amazing that when my arm starts to sore from throwing the ball again and again, she's still full of beans.

Sarah Songing on March 07, 2009:

Hi again, Londongirl- Violet IS walking! And she is amazingly fast. She falls all the time too, but doesn't care. Some days I feel like all I do is follow her around and pull her out of things. As frustrating as it is, there's so much to love about her too! I think I will definitely have to use some of your tips now as she gets bigger.

earnestshub from Melbourne Australia on March 07, 2009:

I Loved this hub LondonGirl! My daughter has 5 children, three toddlers (twin three yo girls, a boy who is now four, a twelve year old girl,(today) and a sixteen year old girl.

I baby sit quite a lot, and Angus aka super spiderman (he insists on that name)sounds a lot like your Isaac. All three of the little ones are very active, but my grandson is full bore! I have learnt a couple of great ideas from your hub, and can vouch for all the others.I will be babysitting today during the birthday party for the twelve year old, so your timing is great.

For grandparents like me, every visit to my children is spent with the little ones, as they miss me even if I saw them yesterday and can't wait to tell me their latest wonder. I can't tell you how much they warm my heart.

Thanks for a wonderful hub.

Your son has that special confidence that is visible in well loved children. Congratulations you lucky mom, your doing good work!

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 07, 2009:

I know what you mean - I often feel I'd like some of what he's on!

hazvy from cardiff,uk on March 07, 2009:

nice hub, my son is almost 3 and true he's full of energy that sometimes i wish we could swap. lol. will follow some of your tips. thanx!

ReuVera from USA on March 06, 2009:

The best years :-) You'll miss all this rocket yet, believe me.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 06, 2009:

Isaac just never stops eating, given half a chance!

Another 11 years - phew....

ReuVera from USA on March 06, 2009:

What a lovely kid! You are a great Mom! I can relate to everything you wrote as my son was exactly the same, except he was a poor eater, so I have no idea where he was taking his energy. He slowed down after he turned you have a long way to go yet. I know one thing- the more you play, read and just spend time with your kid, the more he will be greatful to you for this when he grows up.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 05, 2009:

Hmmm - maybe a youtube should be added.....?

Christine Mulberry on March 05, 2009:

Hope he stays so happy as he grows! Loved the slide show, just wish I could have heard him talking!

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 05, 2009:

Hi Sarah - glad you enjoyed it, as your suggestion got me writing it! Good luck with Violet - is she walking yet? I love the name, by the way.

Hi Amy Jane - glad you enjoyed the hub, and exploiting relatives is great. Perhaps I should rephrase it as "allowing relatives to have bonding time...."?

amy jane from Connecticut on March 05, 2009:

Love your suggestions - especially learning to expoilt relatives! Having a toddler in the house is challenging in so many ways - tiring them out with fun activities is good for everyone!

Sarah Songing on March 05, 2009:

Wonderful hub, LondonGirl! Absolutely loved it. Love hearing about your son, and fabulous ideas for how to deal with an active toddler.

I'll have to keep these thoughts in mind as my Violet gets bigger (her first birthday is in two weeks). She is already a handful, I call her Hurricane Violet.

Thanks for another great read!

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 05, 2009:

Hi Christa - sounds as if we have the same Isaac-issues! Once you get an idea in a toddler's head, shifting it is a barrel of laughs (-:

Elena - sounds great! Want to come and wear mine out? Generally, I find if people take Isaac out, they come back knackered, he comes back bouncing!

Debnet on March 05, 2009:

Invest in an exercise trampoline!!! Oh, for Isaac, not yourself LOL!!

Elena. from Madrid on March 04, 2009:

Hi LG!  This had on me the same effect as with Teresa, I'm tired already and I just woke the heck up!!  :-)  Don't have kids of my own but my nephews have always gave me a run for my money, it was exhausting but fun and....temporary for me!! :-)  I used to go for active and very energetic stuff to do with them, when I delivered them back to parents they thought I'd drugged the kids, they were always beat!  Laugh!

The toddled dancing video doesn't work for me ... I SO wanted to watch that one :-)

Christa Dovel from The Rocky Mountains, North America on March 04, 2009:

LOL! I am trying to teach my youngest that not everything belongs in his kitchen drawer.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 04, 2009:

We got Isaac helping young, too. At one point, he did seem to think that everything should go in his toy box, so it was a good place to look for missing saucepans, mobile phones, and house keys (-:

Christa Dovel from The Rocky Mountains, North America on March 04, 2009:

Your Isaac and his father sound much like my Isaac and his father!  Great tips, and good job for letting him help you out!   A child who can get things out can also put things away -- I had Isaac helping by eight months... I was never sure if he understood or not, until he had a play date one afternoon, and crawled around putting his toys away, so the other baby could not play with them! 

Siblings can be as useful as a puppy in wearing each other out.  (That is the method I use most.)

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 04, 2009:

we can't get a dog ourselves - it's not a great idea in a flat! But we take full advantage of my parents' collie (-:

Shalini Kagal from India on March 04, 2009:

Great hub - LondonGirl - took me back 17 years when it seemed like I never slept for more than a few minutes at a time! Lovely pictures - and what a wonderful Mom you are! Wish we'd thought of a pup when my daughter was young - now we've ended up getting a second pup because the first one was too energetic :D

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 04, 2009:

yeah, I blame my other half as well. I did like sleeping even as a baby (-:

kerryg from USA on March 04, 2009:

Very good advice! I've learned to use many of the same tricks with my daughter, who definitely takes after her high energy father rather than me!

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 04, 2009:

Oh, he's great at looking innocent, cheerful and no trouble at all!

Sheila from The Other Bangor on March 04, 2009:

The photos of Isaac are gorgeous, by the way. But then, you probably know that already. . .

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 04, 2009:

funnily enough, I reckon the two go together as well!

Sheila from The Other Bangor on March 04, 2009:

Yep -- it will make for a lot of happy (i.e. exhausted) campers.

LondonGirl (author) from London on March 04, 2009:

great idea - my mother strongly approves of Isaac wearing out Dylan as well as vice versa!

Sheila from The Other Bangor on March 04, 2009:

Ok -- I'm exhausted just reading all this. I'm going to forward it immediately to the parents of three tots and a teen. Great advice about the dog; I'll have to take my two pups over more often, so they can all wear each other out.