How to get Stuff done with a Toddler | 5 ways to keep them busy so you can #dowork!
“I don’t have time to do anything!” I sobbed into Matt’s shoulder. We’ve had this conversation before. It seems like every few weeks I have a break down because I feel like I get nothing done! Can you relate? It’s life with a toddler. She wants to do everything by herself except play and the moment I try to attack my to-do list she looks at me with those big blue eyes and says “Mom, I need you.” Uhh! Talk about tugging at mama’s heart strings. But seriously, how do you get anything done with a toddler? Here are 5 ways I’ve found to keep them busy so I can get stuff done!
1. Let them help you
All your toddler really wants is to spend time with you so the best way to get stuff done with a Toddler is simply to let them help you. Let them throw the clothes in the washer. Let them wash down the walls with a rag while you mop. Let them sort silverware while you unload and then load the dishwasher.
It will probably take longer, but baby steps still move you forward. Not only will you get things checked off your to-do list, they’ll also begin to learn how to do chores and help out around the house. Believe me this is a lesson best learned while they’re young and willing to help just for a few more precious minutes with mom.
2. Spend some quality time with your toddler.
This is a tip from my mama. She told me when one of us would act out it usually just meant we needed some attention. So that’s exactly what she’d give us. 15 minutes of engaged, focused, attention, after which, we’d usually let her get back to what she needed to do, as our mama love meters were now full.
I would add here that it’s important to set expectations with your toddler up front. Like this, “Emi, I will play this game with you for 20 minutes, I’m going to set the timer, and when it goes off I need to finish doing the dishes, okay?”
This way they wont be surprised when the game ends and you have to return to work.
Give them a little extra love, fill their tank, and they will be more willing to play by themselves.
3. Save special toys for chore/work time.
This morning I really wanted to get the kitchen cleaned and floors mopped. Emi had other ideas that included dress ups. Instead of fighting with her about it I instead asked if she’d like to play with some play dough, something she hadn’t done in months. It worked! She played happily while I cleaned.
It worked because it was special, she hadn’t played/done this particular activity in a while so it was guaranteed to hold her attention longer than 5 minutes.
4. Plan a Play Date
I know it’s counter intuitive but I get the most done when I have 2 toddlers in my house. Why? I can work while Emi is happily playing with someone else. Find some you little one some toddler friends and set them up in the play room with a baby monitor and then go tackle whatever project has been calling your name.
Better yet! Take turns hosting play dates with another mom so you both get a little time to yourselves without any kids at all.
5. Use Screen Time Strategically
It’s no secret that screen time is discouraged for young kids but I know I’m not the only mom who’s thrown on Bubble Guppies so I can take a shower that lasts longer than 2 minutes.
Screen time can be a great tool to help you in those crunch moments get those have to items checked off your to-do list. The trick here, like tip #3, is make is special. If all they ever do is watch TV it’s probably not going to hold their interest. But, if screen time is special and unique you’ve just won yourself 30 minutes.