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We all have those days where our to-do list seems a mile long yet we have an adorable toddler who wants all of our attention! While it is obvious that you cannot be in two places at once, that does not mean all hope is lost. Toddlers are naturally curious and active, ready to explore the world around them. This is great for development but not so great when you have a sink full of dishes or mountains of laundry to fold and put away! Here are some easy ways to keep your toddler entertained while you knock out that list.
When you are trying to get chores done inside, it is easy to keep your toddler in the same room with you by simply blocking the doorway with a baby gate. Okay, this keeps them in the room but how to entertain them? Toddlers love to think they are helping. If you are folding laundry, give them one item to “fold” and as they sit on the floor trying to figure it out, you can finish folding the rest of the pile. If you are trying to dust or do general straightening up, you can let your toddler help with the dusting by giving them a very slightly damp rag and they will follow behind you wiping things. Obviously, these activities will only keep them entertained for a short while. Remember, along with the curiosity of a toddler comes the ability to be quickly distracted! Keeping a few favorite toys such as stacking cups, cars, or an activity mat handy is another great way to entertain your little one. This is also a great way to keep them entertained when you are trying to work on the computer, make important phone calls, or any other variation of things that they cannot “help” with. When trying to cook or work in the kitchen, many parents keep a special bin of cheap tupperware type containers on a bottom shelf for the toddlers to play with so they can be entertained and kept an eye on easily. Regardless of which room you are trying to work on, what activity you are trying to accomplish, there is no shortage of creative ideas to keep your toddler busy!
Keeping your toddler entertained when you are outside can be quite easy as they are amused by even the slightest things in nature. However, if you are looking for a more controlled version of entertainment than just letting them wander around the yard, here are a few tips to do so! Keep a bin of toys specifically for outside. This can range from sand toys to balls to lawn darts and horseshoes! Obviously if you are going with the last two, you might want a toddler version of these games to ensure the darts and horseshoes aren’t too heavy for your little one to actually play with. If you are planting flowers or working in your garden gathering vegetables or herbs or whatever you plant, this is a great opportunity to not only bond with your toddler but to also lay the foundation for a love of science and nature. Letting them help pick the food they are going to eat absolutely thrills small children and is likely to get them to try more foods! While they may not understand everything you are saying, you can tell them how the foods benefit their body. If you are planting or cutting flowers you can use this opportunity to work with them on their colors. As you can see, just like when you are trying to keep your toddler entertained inside, there are a plethora of options for outside too.
Perhaps your toddler is tired of the same toys and distractions. If you can handle the noise, I have found that anything that makes music resembling noise is a huge hit and tends to entertain for a longer amount of time than many other things! If you are not interested in purchasing an assortment of toddler sized instruments, something as simple as an old pan and a plastic or wooden cooking spoon can do wonders! Give them multiple size pots and pans and you will be surprised how quickly they not only realize that the different sizes make different sounds, they are also likely to pick out a favorite! Too noisy you say? No worries! You can do the same thing with different size tupperware bowls and the noise level decreased drastically! You could even make them their own maraca by taking empty water bottles and filling them with dry beans or rice. (Just be sure to secure the lid with super glue or duct tape so they cannot remove it and try to put the filling in their mouth!)
Some toddlers are simply too smart for their own good. They realize you are trying to distract them and come to sit on your feet (sometimes literally) no matter what you put in front of them. This is okay! This is your toddler’s way of saying they want or need your attention. If it is possible, sometimes it is better to go ahead and give them your undivided attention for a little bit before trying to get to whatever you were trying to get done. This not only shows them that they are important to you, it also will often give them what they need to feel secure being entertained by something else so you can get down to business! While you don’t want to do this EVERY time so it doesn’t become a learned behavior to demand mom’s attention, it is okay to do when you can tell that your child is really just needing time with you. Regardless of what activity you are trying to accomplish which requires your toddler to be easily entertained, hopefully these tips have not only been helpful but have given you some new ideas. Let us know in the comments different ways you keep your toddlers entertained!