Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Getting Housework Done with a Toddler

Toddlers are busy. Having one myself, I can tell you there is never a dull moment with a little one! Finding balance to taking care of the household (cooking, cleaning, paying bills, laundry, etc.) and your little one can become quite the balancing act. I have to admit, I still struggle with always finding the time to do everything I need to do each day and successfully meet all the needs of my toddler. I also have mommy guilt that I spend too much time taking care of the house and not enough time soaking up my toddler! They are only this age once, you know?

Despite my struggle, I still need a few minutes daily to prepare meals at the absolute minimum. In the last few weeks, I have done a fairly good job at keeping my child entertained. I let her enjoy an activity at the dining room table (where she may or may not move down to the floor), which is less than 3 feet from where I stand to cook. It's a great setup! Here is what I've been doing:

 This is an extremely new activity that my daughter just started exploring. I pull this out rarely, so it works great as an activity to rotate in when I am cooking. I give her some play toys or kitchen utensils to use with her play-doh.

*Money Jar
We were gifted a piggy bank when I was pregnant with my now toddler. She loves putting money in her jar. At times when I need a few minutes, I will round up some coins that she can add to her piggy bank. Once added, she loves dumping all of her coins out and putting them back in.

A word of caution: A child can choke on coins, so be present at all times. I also talk with my child frequently about how coins do not belong in the mouth. Lastly, coins can carry lots of germs so we are sure to sanitize. 

My toddler doesn't have regular access to her coloring supplies. This gives me the chance to introduce this activity and know that she will be very interested when she sees me pull this down. She typically colors at the table (again, she loves the floor, too) while I prep food.

*Open a Kitchen Cupboard
Our cupboards are all child safety locked so it's quite the adventure when I let one cabinet be opened up to our toddler. I occasionally give her access to our container drawer or the pots and pans (think stacking, sorting, and music making). It's loud and messy but she loves it!

*Let Them Help
This one is probably my best advice! If you are doing something your child can help with, let them help. Sure it will slow you down, but toddlers love being helpful and involved. It also gives you an extra chance to spend some quality time together.

My daughter helps me with dusting, vacuuming, laundry, sweeping, feeding our dogs, and unloading the dishwasher. She loves participating in all of these activities. While cooking, she loves helping me use the blender, mixer, and watching the bread machine at work!

*Paint a Picture
I talked about mess-free painting before, and I still highly recommend this activity. My daughter loves it! I set her up on the kitchen floor or on the patio door, both spots being right next to me. This activity keeps her very entertained while I whip up a quick meal or snack.

*Snack Before a Meal
I know this doesn't sound like the best idea and it definitely may or may not agree with you. My focus, in terms of eating, is that my toddler is allowed fruits and vegetables as she wants them. This being said, I will rarely deny her these foods when she asks for them. Some focus on food only being eaten at meal time while others allow eating at all times. Different strokes for different folks.

While trying to cook meals, I typically pull out my fruits and vegetables for that meal first. I then prepare them and allow my child (and myself) to pick at this food while I continue preparing our meal. Allowing my child to pick at fruits and veggies generally gives me a few extra minutes to get some work done. For us, we have seen no issue with our child still eating supper, but she is a very good eater!

I hope this gives you some ideas to help you as you work on getting through your day with your toddler. What tips do you have that I'm missing?

This post was linked up with Life of Faith's Getting Housework Done Link-up Party. 


  1. My 3YO recently discovered the joys of money! She and her Dad go buy treats with her coins. She loves it. I agree with you on the fruit. My kids can eat that all day long. It never seems to interfere with mealtimes. Stopping by from The Life of Faith.

    1. We haven't quite gotten to the spending of money phase yet, but I am sure she will catch on to that quickly enough! Thank you so much for stopping by!


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