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Help! Please give me all your hacks for toddler life

23 replies

Ilikepinacoladass · 29/09/2022 12:25

I'm so tired, love being a Mum but find it so stressful sometimes. Just come back from toddler swimming class and all the getting changed etc drives me up the wall. Definitely harder when tired but still, I can't help sometimes feeling like I'm missing something, so please give me your best tips for enjoying the toddler days as much as poss and staying chilled!!
(Also a single parent, incase there are any specific tips related to that)

Thanks in advance

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PineappleWilson · 29/09/2022 12:35

If in doubt, run them a bath. Take work that needs doing ( e.g. sorting laundry) into the bathroom with you and sit on the loo and sort it whilst they play in a contained space.

Painting water onto an external wall / fence is absolutely a suitable activity for small people. Likewise pavement chalking.

If they still nap in the day, make that your time to sit, have a hot drink, doze and rest. Don't be tempted to do chores.

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PineappleWilson · 29/09/2022 12:39

Do stressy things, like nail clipping, when they're asleep. If you drive, keep nail clippers in the glove box.

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DashDotCom · 29/09/2022 12:44

Cut as much extra stress out your life as possible.
i quit swim classes recently, they were just one more thing that took up free time and we’re making me tired (Swimming obviously important, will reassess when he’s at an age he can actually swim)
Saying no to any plans that don’t excite me
a block of time to sit and watch kids tv while I catch up on phone “admin”
having a lie down while he naps
making one room in the house “safe”, so nothing that can be swallowed, fall on him etc and then I can let him play in there while I go grab some laundry to fold or tidy nearby etc
having a quiet takeaway night to yourself once in a while, no cooking and ignore all other chores!

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MonkeyPuddle · 29/09/2022 12:46

Shit that is stressful but optional is removed.
swimming is nice, buuuut, if it’s causing issues and stress then it’s gone. No harm will be done, they can swim when they’re only/less of a toddler tyrant (much like my own toddler!) but it removes the source of the stress.

I think sometimes we add in things/activities/costs reduce stress but we should look at what we can remove to lessen the stress.

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giftswap2021 · 29/09/2022 12:52

I bring a onesie for the toddler to wear and then a snack pack of party rings for her to eat whilst I get dresses after swimming. Quick dry off, into onesie (to have having to faff with tops and trousers) and snack for toddler and that gives you a few mins!Smile

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MolliciousIntent · 29/09/2022 12:53

Pick your battles, and then pick less. And then, put a few of those back on the shelf too.

Remind yourself that you're dealing with a person who has no context or understanding of the big picture, and the minor things that go wrong every day feel small to you but HUGE to your kid. Give the kid some grace, and then give twice that much to yourself.

You've got this. We've all been there.

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handslikebirds · 29/09/2022 12:56

Loads of prior notice- eg when you've finished this puzzle you'll get dressed. Just letting them do things in their own time (nightmare when in a rush!). Getting teddy to tell them to do things. Counting down 321. Making things into a game like if they refuse to walk asking if they want to stomp like an elephant or fly like a butterfly.

And bribery. Lots and lots of bribery.

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Raidtheice · 29/09/2022 13:00

Send them to nursery/childminder.

We didn't swim much with either of ours when they were toddlers. They both went through an annoying stage of trying to run, moaning about the water being cold and generally disliking it more than enjoying it. So perhaps knock swimming on the head until the summer?

Both are in primary school how and love swimming BTW.

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yikesanotherbooboo · 29/09/2022 13:06

I wouldn't bother with swimming if you're not enjoying it.
I used to spend most of the time outdoors when I had tinies but had no guilt about some tv time if I had to do things or one of us was tired. Mostly they would trail round with me ' helping' or playing with plastic animals while we were at home , or I would stick them in the high chair with colours or a snack.I used to batter incessantly at them and sing nursery rhymes etc but carried on doing what needed to be done.

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Danikm151 · 29/09/2022 13:10

Pick your battles. Compromises/bribery works wonders.
save the housework till after bed time
let them have a choice on things( outfits/snacks)
organise bags/packed lunch/ clothes the night before.

nursery is awesome.
Get an annual membership to a fun place for them to explore and go regularly whilst it’s still free for them.

single parent working full time with a 2 year old. life is full of hacks.

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Howeverdoyouneedme · 29/09/2022 13:10

What Dashdotcom said basically.

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Iheartmykyndle · 29/09/2022 13:27

I found swimming much easier once DD was reliably potty trained. The hassle of the swim nappy was just too much. I usually wrapped her up in a big towel while I chucked my clothes on, then I could sort her out more easily.

Other hacks:
Use TV as an activity, not as background. If you make it a "right, well sit down and watch paw patrol" then you can either use that 20 minutes to drink tea and close your eyes or get lunch made, do some life admin, fold laundry etc

They don't need a bath every night. It's fine.

Get them to help with chores, both of mine love it but it helps me as well.

I used to feel guilty about leaving DDs in nursery/after school until nearly closing but actually on WFH days I can get loads done in the 30 minutes from finishing work till picking them up and that helps me. Obviously that's one fairly specific!

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Ilikepinacoladass · 29/09/2022 13:52

Thank you so much everyone. 😘

That's a good point about swimming being easier once potty trained, he's nearly 2.5 and it's on my to do list.

He's napping now and I spent the first hour catching up with washing up from yesterday/ this morning. Didn't do it last night as prioritised eating chocolate/ sleeping. @Iheartmykyndle that's a good point about WFH, need to be more strict about logging off so can make use of that time before pick up (is only about 15 mins though for me really)

He goes to a lovely childminder 3 days a week (when I'm working).

Bath time doesn't happen every night (sometimes once a week eek).

I think it doesn't help we are always rushing around, have an activity every morning on the days I have him, then often a playdate in the PM. I just think I worry about getting lonely (which sounds very sad) so end up planning lots.

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Ilikepinacoladass · 29/09/2022 13:55

@MolliciousIntent
'You've got this. We've all been there.'
Thank you, this almost made me cry x

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ZuzuSusu · 30/09/2022 03:26

I'm in the thick of it too OP. Do you have one area of your house that you can completely baby proof so you can unleash him to play while you relax on a beanbag? Self play is healthy for them. It's ok for them to eat the same meal frequently if it's well balanced, and it makes things simpler. We got rid of our chairs because we couldn't stop her climbing them and running around on the table. I think you should plan some at home time, you'll both feel more settled. It sounds like you're doing brilliantly though!

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GoneBeserk · 30/09/2022 04:16

You're packing loads and loads in by the sound of it. You can ease off the gas and still be super mum.

Thing about toddlers is they NEEEEED you. All the flipping time. And when they sense you are not concentrating on them they badger you or misbehave to get attention. And then the other thing is they have tantrums and that can be exasperating to put it mildly.

I get the point about loneliness and why you'd want to see an adult every day if you are wfh. Please tell me you arent hosting all the play dates at your home yourself?! It can be less of a burden by turning them into a group meet-up at the park, or a scooter session with a friend, or a walk to collect conkers and jump in leaves.

Being with toddlers around 2 or 3 is often very hard going, it's definitely not just you. My DS is nearly 4 and is emerging from the "rage and tantrum" phase. All of a sudden he is just so adorable ... yesterday he told me, "I like cuddles. Do you like cuddles mummy? We can sit on the sofa and cuddle when we get home." (We didnt, but it's the thought that counts.) Toddler aggro passes, so hold on because better times await you.

Re: specific toddler hacks, my favourite one is to divert him with an Important Job. Even if it is utterly pointless I will invest it with importance and then high-five when it's a job well done. Sometimes I even set up pointless jobs when I know he is going to be a nuisance if I need to get on with something. "Oh dear someone has mixed up all the socks and toy cars in the drawer! That's not right. Let's tip it out and fix it. Please can you sort out the socks in one pile here and the cars in another pile here?" Chances are he will end up playing with cars and I have a happy distracted toddler who no longer wants to "help" with my job of putting the laundry away (aka emptying my wardrobe cos it's fun). It is looking likely my son will grow up to be the living incarnation of Bob the Builder due to this "Can you fix it?" method of parenting, but worse things could be in his destiny and I'm sure he will learn to style it out.

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LickYouLikeACrispPacket · 30/09/2022 04:35

Do what you can comfortably manage, don’t overload your day with activities and playdates if it’s too much.
I would plan the day around what we were doing so if it was an afternoon play date then we’d have a quieter morning.
I am maybe a bit lax but I see no issue with kids watching a bit of TV and playing an iPad as long as they are active and get plenty of fresh air.
Children are like dogs, the need a good run around an open space. Life’s easier when they are tired out.
Try and make a little time for you too. My kids are teenagers now but I remember how hard it was when they were wee.

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speckledfroglet · 30/09/2022 09:38

I’m in the same boat, today is my first full day alone with 2 year old and 2 month old baby (toddler is usually at nursery in the week but they’re having a training day) I’ve been bricking it as toddler needs lots of supervision, doesn’t like to play alone for more than a few minutes and has started trying to hit his sister at every opportunity. Maybe I’ve lucked out but he’s been ok this morning, I’ve had to protect his sister from a few attempted slaps but he’s actually played very nicely with magnetic tiles and his play kitchen. As for tips, I’d say doing anything a little bit differently can work well (today I suggested he sit on a different blanket to play, he seemed excited about it and now he’s sitting there building a house )

After his nap we’ll do a ‘treasure hunt’ in the garden, it’s always a winner and kills a lot of time. I usually hide some plastic eggs from Easter but we’ll use some conkers today.

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KittyCatsby · 30/09/2022 09:46

You sound like you are trying to ' busy yourselves '. Perhaps you are doing too much . On a day you have off together , perhaps see if your local library has a session for little ones , then choose a book or two. Go home read the books together and let that be the only days activity.

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Ilikepinacoladass · 30/09/2022 13:28

@GoneBeserk
Thanks. Playdates are usually in the park, think one of the covid hangovers is that got out of the habit of having people over! Just planning too much and packing too much in I think

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Ilikepinacoladass · 30/09/2022 13:31

@ZuzuSusu
Planning in some home time sounds like a good plan.. feel like I'm constantly trying to rush him out the door in the morning, into the car, then rush home for nap, then rush back out again, then rush home for dinner.. it's too much!!

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Ilikepinacoladass · 30/09/2022 13:33

@GoneBeserk
WFH days he goes to the childminder, but do think I try and over compensate with the socialising on the days off due to lack of adult company in the week.

Everything feels harder when you're tired and stressed doesn't it!

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Timeturnerplease · 01/10/2022 15:43

Snacks seem to help in all situations.

14mo DD2 was causing havoc in the changing rooms earlier while I was getting 3.5yo DD1 changed after her swimming lesson. Friend who’d got her DD changed already whipped toddler out to the cafe for a biscuit. Calm restored.

DD2 this afternoon shouting angrily about not being able to jump off the sofa. DD1 nipped into the kitchen, peeled a banana and handed half to DD2, saying ‘that’ll keep her quiet for a while Mummy.’ Tantrum averted.

We epitomise parenting by the path of least resistance; take them to pubs with soft play for lunch instead of ‘nice’ places, give into CBeebies for a break and keep bananas and Yo-yo Bears on our person at all times. They don’t seem terribly emotionally damaged yet.

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