Every mom knows the struggle of trying to get anything done with a mobile baby or an energetic toddler underfoot. Once they enter the “I do it” phase, they want to do everything they can and then some. As moms, we feel the need to entertain them and often that makes more work for us or at least keeps us from getting our own tasks done. From planning an activity, to setting it up, and then cleaning it up, I often wonder if providing my toddler with activities is worth the extra effort.
The best way to keep a busy toddler occupied while also continuing to get the household things done is to include them in your activities in an age appropriate and engaging way. Here are some ways to engage your toddler without putting more work on your own plate.
- Allow them to help move the clothes from the dryer to the laundry basket while you fold laundry or start a load in the washer.
- Set your toddler inside the bath tub with a spray bottle of water (or a vinegar and water mix) and a rag or scrub brush and let them clean the tub or use a toothbrush to clean their bath toys while you clean the bathroom.
- Use a toddler tower or safe stool and let them play with a bowl in the sink while you wash dishes.
- Give them access to a safe cabinet full of tupperware or plastic dishes while you cook or clean in the kitchen.
- Have them push a Swiffer around while you vacuum.
- Give them a bucket of water and a paintbrush and have them paint the fence or the house while you work in the yard.
- Set up a planter or large pot of dirt and allow your toddler to dig with a small shovel while you tend your plants.
- Assign them tasks of gathering yard things like a scavenger hunt, “Go pick a yellow flower.” “Find a crunchy leaf.” etc.
- Put on their swimmies and spray them with the hose or let them run in the sprinklers while you water your plants or wash the car.
Release the pressure you feel to entertain your toddler and instead, include them in your day to day activities. Nature is wonderful entertainment all on its own and they will quickly learn that household work, chores, and maintaining their house can be entertaining too.