Last Updated on October 19, 2021 by melissanreynolds
Coping with a toddler when you have fibromyalgia – this needs to be part of the parenting playbook when you embark on your fibro parenting career!
This post has been a long time coming. I haven’t felt like I was coping these past few months. But we’re here, so that’s winning.
Toddlers seem to have an abundance of energy that I could only dream of. If only Nu would lend me some, maybe it would be easier.
The big thing for me (on the days I’m not working) is to get him active in the morning, when I’m most able and he’s not so tired either. This way the afternoon can be a more relaxed affair.
I am slowly learning that I’ll never feel like I’m coping if I’m putting too much of my energy elsewhere (like work), so my balance needs to be kept in check.
Note: This post was written when my first son was a toddler, I have since had more boys and all of this advice still stands!
Here’s a few tips I’ve gleaned in coping with a toddler when you have fibromyalgia:
- Accept help – my husband takes a turn in the morning when he’s not at work, I never get back to sleep, but it’s a break. If grandparents want a visit, give them the toddler and run away!
- Enjoy them – this may be the sweetest age, Nu says things like “want some mama hug”.
- Play dough, stickers, colouring in to keep them occupied for 10 minutes.
- Outside – even checking the mail and watering the garden can seem exciting.
- Park – even if you need to drive there, the park is a great and free way to burn off toddler energy.
- Routine – my son is a routine boy and we have a loose but similar routine for each night, this helped when bedtime got foggy at the sleep regression.
- Setting -first thing, before I get him up, I set up some of his toys seductively. This may buy 10 minutes of independent play! I also swap toys around regularly.
- Rest when the toddler rests (if you’re home with them) – on the days I’m home I will do Yoga Nidra meditation before anything else when he naps.
- Library, zoo, beach, local attractions – there are options for all energy ranges. Nu loves animals, so we’ve been to the zoo a few times.
- Read – when you’re super exhausted and sore, lie or sit down (surrounded by cushions if need be) and read all of their books.
- Movies – my guy won’t sit through anything longer than a minute, but if this diversion works for your kids then lie down immediately!
- Play dates – another energetic creature can occupy yours! Mamas can chat. Win-win.
- Pick your battles. Save your energy for the ones that count.
- Consistency, set boundaries and always stick to them.
- Don’t forget yourself, keep experimenting and keep practicing your wellness techniques.
The last few are the result of a thread on my Facebook page, some amazing fibro mamas gave me some advice:
17. Educational games on a tablet – lie down and rest while they sit with you and play.
18. Have a bath together – get some toys or bath paints and let them play while you enjoy the warmth on your muscles.
19. Create a toddler-proof room that you can let them free and self-direct their play, sit back and enjoy their gorgeousness (do you do that? I’ve been known to stare at my boy and just grin lol)
20. Don’t always tidy up. The toys will be back out! Sometimes let the laundry and dishes be.
21. Take time out. Go for a coffee alone. Or a massage. Or a walk. Do your yoga. Just go!
Mostly I think having a toddler is a bit like a newborn, in that you might need to just put your head down and push through, however there are definitely more tools in the arsenal to keep them occupied now.
Have you got anything to add to the list?
Coping with a toddler when you’re in pain and exhausted
Let’s talk some more about number 21 – don’t forget yourself. This is so important. Think of it as putting on your own oxygen mask before trying to help others.
The number one thing I recommend doing to amplify your rest, help with sleep and pain and more is Yoga Nidra guided meditation. You can do it in 10, 15, 20 or more minutes. Think of it as super efficient rest. This has been my secret sauce in managing chronic pain, fatigue, insomnia, sleepless nights with babies and children. Here is a free practice from my YouTube channel.
I wrote the book Pregnancy and Fibromyalgia and it includes a bundle of worksheets including your symptom management plan, if you would like practical help to make your plans – then grab that now.
Tell us: what are your best tips for managing kids through pain and fatigue??