Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day! I'm guest posting over at The Moses Home about my tips for a successful breastfeeding experience. Katrina, from Mama's Organized Chaos, is guest posting here about a topic I really needed help with! Tess is at that into-everything age and I'm always telling Zach it's IMPOSSIBLE to get anything done!!! Mom's of toddlers, ya feel me?!?! GREAT tips on some creative solutions to keep those toddlers busy so we can do our thing :)
There is an awkward age where your baby has just recently entered the toddler phase, yet they still can't "do" much. They aren't old enough to sit and play by themselves for long, aren't entertained by things like coloring or drawing, and they honestly can't help out much. They are fabulous at getting in the way, they insist on taking up all of your time, and love to make sure you don't get anything done! When your little one is in this phase, it can feel like nothing gets accomplished. The dishes pile up, the laundry gets started and never finished, etc.
Everyone (young and old) likes to feel needed and that they are helping! Toddlers are no different, although their version of this often halts our progress on a task (however well-intentioned). They love to help out and will absolutely love feeling independent, involved, and needed! Here are a few tips to keep your youngster occupied, yet involved at the same time! I've included a low, medium and high option for each task (depending on the specific age of your child or how much they understand the task).
Low- Have your child take clothing out of the laundry basket, then put it back in. Name the items with them as you work. You can even have a separate basket or bin for them to place items in.
Medium- Have your child find all of a specific item (socks, bibs, etc).
High- Hand your child folded items and ask them to put them in a specific location. ("Place the towels in the bathroom", or "Put the socks in the drawer").
My 16 month old doesn't have the patience for finding specific items, but she loves taking the towels into the bathroom, and putting her folded clothes on the chair in her room! Both of those things actually help me out!
Low- Give your child a bin of kitchen utensils. Name the objects with them while you work.
Medium- Place your child on a chair, safe stool, or learning tower so they can watch you do the dishes. You can even give them a couple of items to try and wash or rinse.
High- Hand your child items to place into the dishwasher. If unloading, hand them items and ask them to put them away where they belong. Choose things that they will be able to reach.
My 16 month old loves putting away the lids to her little storage containers. We are looking forward to building our learning tower so she can be up at counter height and try rinsing!
Low- Give your child a bin of kitchen utensils. Name the objects with them while you work. Medium- Place your child on a chair, safe stool, or learning tower so they can watch you cook. You can even give them small tasks such as stirring.
High- Increase the complexity of the task by having your child add ingredients, rinse items in the sink, place items in a bowl, or even measure!
My 16 month old really enjoys stirring. As of right now, we are just having her stand on a chair to do so.
Low- Have your child use a toy vacuum/broom while you vacuum/sweep. You can give them a dusting rag and show them what you are doing as well.
Medium- Have your child clean a section of the floor, or a table. Have them place dirty rags in the trash or in the laundry hamper.
High- Have your child independently clean something in their room, their highchair, etc.- something they will take ownership of as they get older.
My 16 month old loves using her broom and vacuum to help clean. She also takes a rag and cleans up a mess if I show her where to clean. She obviously doesn't do a perfect job yet, but she gets the basic idea!
In addition to all of the above ideas, don't forget to encourage independent play at an early age! By the pre-toddler age (12-18 months) it is a good idea to have 10-15 minutes of true independent play once or twice per day. This can increase up to 60 minutes by the time the child is 2, and will also become more structured. This post on independent play discusses the benefits, and what our progression has looked like from birth through 16 months.
Katrina is a mother to 1 daughter (16 months old) that blogs over at MamasOrganizedChaos