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Old 01-17-2011, 10:13 PM   #1
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How do I keep a 6 month old busy all day long?

I need help.

I'm a first time mom to my DD who is about 6 and half months old.

Now, like every mom out there, I think she is a perfect little angle except she won't go to sleep till midnight every single night. She wakes up at 9:00 am then she's on the go all day long except for her nap time which usually adds up to about 3 to 4 hours but her naps are getting shorter.

For the rest of the day, she has to be either mentally or physically engaged in activities; she fusses to no end if she is "bored." I read to her, sing to her, play music, watch some TV (I limit it to 30 min a day max) and carry her around the apartment but she wants more and more. She even gets mad at us if we try to read her the same book twice. She wants more and different all the time. She can sit on her own for a long time now and she plays on her own sitting up but I think if it were only up to her, she'd be running around all day long (she is learning to crawl and to stand up). She seems to have a lot of fun when I take her to baby classes but we can go to so many per week. I pretty much have to turn every moment into "teachable moment" all day long and honestly, I am getting sick and tired of my own voice.

It's exhausting to keep her content and stimulated but not overstimulated. I know it sounds like I need to put her to sleep earlier so she'll mellow out but I have tried to put her to bed by 8:00 PM for months now but she either stays up or wakes up by 9:00 PM even more energized to party. And she doesn't seem tired either; as long as she is doing something to her liking, she is one happy baby.

So what else can I do to keep her happy and occupied? We have a bouncer which she loves but I can't exactly leave her there for hours. We also got her a swing but she thinks it's her potty so she only lasts on it for 10 min or less then I have to change her diaper.

Any ideas? Or a sample schedule a baby who thinks she is a rock star?

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Old 01-17-2011, 10:24 PM   #2
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Re: How do I keep a 6 month old busy all day long?

Just to let you know, she sounds like a completely normal baby lol. I promise though once she can start crawling she'll find things on her own to keep her busy. That between stage where they want to crawl but can't can be frustrating for her (and you) because she wants to do stuff but can't really get there herself. Is the sleeping at midnight effecting you or are you just worried it's too late for her? I wouldn't change her natural sleep rhythm unless you truly have to. Just keep an eye out for her nap times. If you want her to be in bed by 8pm do not let her nap past 5pm so she'll be tired. Also, about an hour before bedtime we turn off the tv and dim the lights so the kids get the clue that bed time to coming. I hope this helps!
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:59 PM   #3
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Re: How do I keep a 6 month old busy all day long?

I have the nightowl too and honestly I love it as he lets me sleep in (but ironically he knows the days my husband is home and he wakes up early then for his dad).

We did the jumper some, his activity mat, just go out shop, stroll, etc....he'd hang out in the kitchen in his ikea high chair while I cooked. That is a hard age as they aren't really into toys and you are their toy. Just be careful with the bouncy seat - if it isn't a 5 part-harness one day I found my son so proudly trying to climb out (he was strapped in and it was funny so after I took pictures it got put away). I agree with the PP - once they start being more mobile, baby proof one area, and let them loose. We did that with the living room and he just runs around, plays with his toys and hangs out (though now we have climber boy which is a problem as he gets on the couch.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:11 PM   #4
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Re: How do I keep a 6 month old busy all day long?

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Old 01-18-2011, 12:27 AM   #5
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Re: How do I keep a 6 month old busy all day long?

My DS is 11.5 months now, but from what I recall his daily schedule at that age was something like this (he was sitting independently and just starting to rollover at this age):

8:00 Wake up and get dressed
8:15 Playtime in his baby gym
8:45 Tummy time on the boppy
9:00 Breakfast
9:45 Sit on couch and read a story or play with toys with mom or dad
10:00 Nap
11:00 Play in play yard outside
11:30 Sit by laundry room and play on the carpet while mom does the wash
12:00 Lunch
12:45 Go for a walk/to the park or out on errands
1:30 Nap
2:30 Play in his exersaucer
3:00 Tummy time on a mat
3:30 Watch a DVD
4:00 Mom or dad does chores while he's in a baby carrier
4:30 Play in his bumbo chair
5:00 Nap
6:00 Eat dinner
6:45 Play with mom or dad on the floor
7:00 Chill in the bouncer while mom's on DS
7:30 Take a bath
8:15 Read stories
9:00 Bedtime

A few thoughts...my son loved having lots of "stations" and we just rotated him through these as he got bored...Stations consisted of different places/equipment/toys throughout the house. The changing of location was key for some reason. If we picked him up and moved him from one room to another he would usually be ok with a new activity and eventually he played longer and longer at each station. Also, a lot of the time I try to give him an activity and then do something else in the room and just check in with him verbally or walk over to him intermittently. So he is playing independently but not lonely because I'm right there. For example I might make the bed and sort laundry while he sits in the bumbo in our bedroom. Your LO may not tolerate this for very long but you can try to see if she will be content with this for short periods throughout the day and try to slowly increase it if she will tolerate it. Also, do you use a baby carrier? It's a great way to have baby near you but you can still do stuff around the house. Your baby shouldn't need your constant interaction...you loving, calm, happy presence is adaquate some of the time. You may already do this, but I just wanted to throw it out there because my DH (a SAHD) says DS won't let him do anything and he has to interact with him all day but when I'm home I can usually get him to be content with just being in the same room as me. And it's fine to interact with baby all day of course, but don't do it if it exhausts you! Anyway mama, it sounds like you a re doing a great job with an active, energetic little girl. Keep up the good work and I hope you find a solution that works for both of you!
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:26 PM   #6
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Re: How do I keep a 6 month old busy all day long?

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Originally Posted by SillyEllie View Post
Just to let you know, she sounds like a completely normal baby lol.
Thank you! I've been talking to other moms who have babies around her age and they all say their LOs sleep from 7 PM to 7 AM, wake up maybe once for feeding and take naps throughout the day. I thought I was doing something wrong and making her insomniac. I'm okay with her falling asleep around 11:00 PM as long as it doesn't have adverse effects on her and she is normally in a great mood throughout the day and takes naps on her own when she has had enough.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:33 PM   #7
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Re: How do I keep a 6 month old busy all day long?

Sounds normal - they like to change activities frequently.

Is a bouncer the same as a Jumer-oo? I don't know what we'd do without ours. Our DS also likes to just sit and play in his highchair. He'll do that for a long time.

More ideas:
bath
play longer at changing table
give her safe objects from the kitchen to explore (ds loved the egg yolk separator)
play music and dance
go for a walk in the stroller
go out to lunch
one-on-one interaction with mom/dad (ds loves neck and tummy raspberries)
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:22 PM   #8
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Re: How do I keep a 6 month old busy all day long?

I am like you...I LIKE my little guy going to be around 11pm...it's too busy in our house at 7pm...it would be hard to be quiet at that time...so we go to bed later and sleep in! One thing I have been doing more and more is babywearing. I finally caved and bought a SUPER expensive Boba carrier...and couldn't be happier! My little guy is so happy riding along with me and I talk through everything I do so he can carry on a conversation with me. We do dishes, laundry, and everything together and that seems to wear him out. I don't barely ANY just sit and enjoy time b/c he always has to be doing something! I have also heard that around 8/9 months they start becoming MUCH more independent and can engage themself in things. I'm SO looking forward to it! But I'll probably miss the neediness all the same! But your LO sounds completely normal to me! My 4 month old is the same way!
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:42 PM   #9
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Re: How do I keep a 6 month old busy all day long?

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Originally Posted by pcjs View Post
Just be careful with the bouncy seat - if it isn't a 5 part-harness one day I found my son so proudly trying to climb out (he was strapped in and it was funny so after I took pictures it got put away). I agree with the PP - once they start being more mobile, baby proof one area, and let them loose. We did that with the living room and he just runs around, plays with his toys and hangs out (though now we have climber boy which is a problem as he gets on the couch.
I think she'll going to grow out of her swing in weight before she gets clever enough to attempt an escape.

We're converting our spare room into a playroom so hopefully, she'll learn to chill out there with her toys.

I should sleep in since she sleeps in but I'm up by 6:00 am doing chores very quietly - otherwise, nothing would get done around here.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:57 PM   #10
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Re: How do I keep a 6 month old busy all day long?

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Originally Posted by ReiSapphireJade View Post
I didn't realize it but she was actually overstimulated and overtired. My whole life changed when I got the book by "The Sleep Lady." It has helped me tremendously with my other children.
I'm having a hard time trying to figure out how much stimulation is just enough. She does send clear signals when she is tired (she looks tired and rubs her eyes) or overstimulated (she acts like she is high on sugar) so we try to slow things down then but I wonder if she's tired even before she gets to that point? But at the same time, if she is bored she is really unhappy.

Since we live in an apt and neighbors are close, we can't exactly let her cry out to sleep. I was talking to a mom whose neighbor filed a noise complaint over her baby crying every night during diaper change!!! And I can see that happening to us if I let it go on for longer than a few minutes. So, I pretty much have to let her follow her own pattern but I am exhausted with one child so I have no idea how you manage!
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