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Keeping a toddler busy while doing chores

(13 Posts)
weeeep Mon 13-Nov-17 12:58:08

Hhey fellow parents

I’m stuck in my choices sources and thoughts.
Can you people please please please please give me ideas of what to do with a 16 months old toddler while I do the chores. I’m talking about 4 hours time.

How do you guys manage house work/studies etc while children are awake and around?

Thanks a bunch in advance.

dantdmistedious Mon 13-Nov-17 12:59:53

Why did you need 4 hours?

Give the toddler a cloth and let them follow you.

weeeep Mon 13-Nov-17 13:02:06

We are a big joint family. While I cook clean wash do the ironing laundry school run etc etc it takes hours and hours.

I also study and work from home.

user2085372673 Mon 13-Nov-17 13:08:35

I think expecting ways to entertain a toddler on its own while you do chores for four hours is a little unrealistic and even unfair.

We have a cleaner once a week for a couple of hours, could you afford that? I do all the day to day stuff in the evenings and 10 minutes here 10 minutes there. For example, I’ll set mine up with an activity and then hang a wash out to dry or I’ll bring them upstairs and then give them a pile of books to look through while I change the sheets. You can get a lot done this way - I basically do everything apart from one big clean a week this way. Big jobs are done while they sleep at lunch and when that stops (any day now) I’m going to let him watch a film each day for an hour.

FusionChefGeoff Mon 13-Nov-17 13:15:04

Colander and loads of pipe cleaners to thread into the holes.

Daytime bath / shower whilst you clean bathroom

Waterplay on kitchen floors and you mop up after to clean them

Yes to bottle of water spray and a cloth so he can ‘help’

Ditto pulling washing out / stuffing it into the machine

Food in high chair whilst you do kitchen

Bouncing on the bed whilst you clean / tidy bedroom


welshweasel Mon 13-Nov-17 13:15:39

Put them in nursery? Honestly, you're being massively unrealistic. Most babies that age will be having a lunchtime nap of a couple of hours so that's your prime time to get jobs done but other than that it's a few minutes here and there or wait til they're in bed!

inappropriateraspberry Mon 13-Nov-17 13:19:11

It’s hard! Does your LO nap in the day? That was always the best time to get stuff done. Otherwise it was a case of sticking them in front of the telly for a bit. Not ideal, but sometimes needs must! Their concentration spans just aren’t long enough at that age for playing alone. It’s easier to try and do chores in little sections, rather than all at once. So a chore, then some playtime, then another chore etc. It can feel like a never ending list of chores, but you just have to fit it in around them.

koopspooks Mon 13-Nov-17 19:38:46

Haha 4 hours a day?! Good luck and if you find an answer that doesn’t involve cbeebies then let me know.

PonderLand Mon 13-Nov-17 20:04:53

Is there any other adults around? Maybe they could help with the 4 hours worth a chores a day!

I do the laundry on a morning and put it to dry when my son (17m) naps, I tidy up the downstairs while he naps and have my lunch. I tidy up ds room before he goes to bed. On an evening I put the dishwasher on and tidy the bathroom before I shower. DP vacs up on weekends when I'm at work. I tidy up our bedroom before we go to sleep. Don't have time for much else when he's awake other than sweep up/wipe down sides etc but my son likes 'helping' with that.

Coconut0il Mon 13-Nov-17 20:25:07

There's no way DS2 would give me 4 minutes, let alone 4 hours! I put a load of washing on at the same time as I put the kettle on in the morning. I stick in it the drier when it's done then try to get it out straight away for minimal ironing.
I clean the bathroom when I have a shower.
I don't really do anything else unless DP is here or if he can take DS2 out for an hour.
I can do more in an hour without him here than I can in about 5 hours with him here grin
I agree with a pp that if you really need that time for work/study you'd be better off loooking for a nursery place. DS1 was probably about 10 before he would spend 4 hours doing his own thing.

Arseface Mon 13-Nov-17 20:31:25

I've worked from home with 3 of mine from babies.
Firstly, lower your standards. Cleaning and laundry will be done badly. You have to make it fun time for them if you need them leave you alone for conference calls/emails/report writing etc.

The best thing I did was to walk death march all children and dogs out for the school run/park first thing, so they arrive home tired and ready to sit doing something while I logged in to the office.

Fusion's tips are great. Following you round with a clean dry mop while you steam the floor is good, if your flooring looks different wet. Glitter trail and a Dyson. Treasure hunt for snack time then a bout of screen time/ play doh/painting etc when they're ready to sit still for a bit.

Essentially, you need to make the cleaning up quite high energy and fun so they're tired enough to sit down with something quietly when you need them to.

Plan a tiny bit of stuff the night before so you've got something in your back pocket for emergencies (bubble machine, dolly or dino that needs a bath, whatever you think they'll be a bit quiet for)

Also try and have a routine that anticipates the busy times for work.
Nap times and screen times obv to coincide but also something high energy + a wind down (big dance while tidying then slow music while having a drink = 5 mins peace)

It's very bite sized and labour intensive at 18 months. Hard work at first but you can do it. It gets easier very fast.

weeeep Mon 13-Nov-17 20:45:29

Hi again

So a bit of background, I have a husband but zero help from him. At this point In my mind I’m a single parent. No other adults around.

My baby is super clingy and even when watching tv she wants it sit in my lap. This is due to the fact that I had a lot of time when my mother was here but she has moved out two months ago hence I’m in a mess because I’ve never done all this alone. She did the chores and I stayed with the baby.

The tips everyone gave are wonderful ! That’s exactly what I was looking at. Something to incorporate in my chores. It definitely takes 10x more time but i don’t mind that as long as I get them done.

So today, I put the LO in bathtub , turned on the bubble machine and cleaned the bathroom.

Then I made a pretend hill with washing and sorted out my laundry while I kept “hiding” LO in the clothes and I she would try to scare me by coming out of it. The laundry took 30 minutes instead of 5 but I don’t mind that.

While I hovered I gave her a cloths and spray bottle and she drenched the room(note to self: buy a bottle that’s hard to press water out of. Lol)

The time I needed to do things that can’t be done which her I gave her some olives and turned on the tv and that gave me some time to do thirst stuff.

I loved the “wash the Dino” idea. I’m going to try that tomorrow.

I think what I need is some equipment. Some aprons, mats, brushes, big bowls, some pipe cleaners etc.

I actually felt better after ages today. I am so thankful for all of your ideas. Thanks a million. Xx

WombOfOnesOwn Tue 14-Nov-17 23:33:28

Sounds like you don't have a cleaning problem, you have a DH problem. You say it's a big joint family -- so you're also basically a single parent for children who don't even belong to you biologically?

Why do you put up with it?

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