Play, Play, Play, Raising a Spirited Child


I love my son. He is incredibly smart, funny and oh so loving. But he's got a spirit to him that turns him into a terrifying ball of fire, tearing apart the house and testing my patience in a matter of minutes after starting the day.

Some days are easy. Some days are hard... really, really hard.

When things get hard I regroup. I try to get creative and work with his energy. Until we hit a wall, which might be getting sick or having a couple bad nights of sleep. We start those mornings with one episode of Paw Patrol. Then another. Then all of a sudden Netflix pauses and asks you if you are still watching, which is really code for: "GO OUTSIDE, YOU ARE A BAD PARENT." (Stop judging me Netflix. Until you push a human being out of a very small body part you get no say!)

There are things that seem to help us create good days. Specifically, keeping his energy channeled into activities that use his mind and body, things that keep him physically and mentally engaged.

The problem is, as creative as I am, I can't always think of what to plan. Before having his sister Hattie it was easier to keep him busy. Every day we had an activity to go to. Often it was as simple as a playdate with a close friend, or a trip to the park or beach. We've also had success with Mother Goose, Wendy's House (parent and tot learning programs/centres), swimming lessons and of course the Forest Museum.

Now that we are home more with a brand new baby recovering I am struggling more and more. Relying on friends and family to entertain him has been great but soon this help will fade and I will be on my own again. Some of the activities we enjoyed before such as swimming and skating are going to be harder with a two to one ratio.

On top of that, all of a sudden his energy seems more extreme. He literally doesn't sit still; he is constantly moving/vibrating. I had someone ask me the other day how many shots of espresso he had with his cheerios. He may just seem more active now compared to a sleeping brand new baby, but maybe it’s also a reaction to the change in our family.

A solution I've found is I have to start being more resourceful with what we have at home. My husband inspired me yesterday. He took our son outside and started hammering nails in a piece of firewood. He gave him a small hammer and I heard them laughing and hammering outside for over an hour. He had so much fun. Then they went on to hammer boards onto the woodshed my husband is building. At two years old he actually helped build a shed. This was both rewarding and fun.

Furthermore, I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of things we can do around home to keep busy and some tools that have helped me adapt. I took some suggestions from a friend’s recent social media post about her similar busy child to help me out. There were some awesome ideas such as including them in making breakfast and helping with daily chores. Also a couple of books were suggested to help understand and deal with spirited children:

·      Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

·      Rest Grow Play by Deborah Macnamara


I have a list of books to read and ideas to try for when I feel like I can keep my head above water for long enough to get to them. If you are reading this and have a like-minded child, what works for you? (Please leave some tips in the comments!) I will add your ideas to my list. Right after one more episode of Paw Patrol…

Kristy Symes