Monday, September 23, 2013

Housework With "Helpers" {Life with Toddler}


"Help! I have a two-year old and I have no idea how to get anything done anymore!"

"My toddler is into everything- I turn my back for a few minutes, and all the work I've done is undone."

"My carpet is literally strewn with a million cracker crumbs... I vacuum, and within the hour it looks like the vacuuming never happened."

Words echoed from the mouths of countless mothers... or is it just me? Please tell me again that I am not alone here!

While some of these conundrums may never be solved {especially the cracker crumb scenario- seriously, I say I won't let her walk around the house with a snack anymore, but that has yet to happen}, and the messes will always keep coming back, there are a few tricks I've employed in keeping house with my two year old.

Washing the dishes. When I wash the dishes, S washes her "dishes." I stick her in her high chair with a small container of water, throw in a few bath toys, and let her have fun. Yes, my entire kitchen floor is sopping by the time we're through. Oh is she happy though, and Mommy is happy too, because all of her dishes are done :).


Cooking. S loves to help me in the kitchen, and I am kicking myself for not including her in my cooking and baking sooner! She dumps measuring cups into bowls, taste-tests the veggies I've chopped, and helps me stir.

Warning: when cooking with toddlers, I'm learning that I need to have a game plan ready to go before starting if I want to keep my patience and sanity. Knives and spillables need to be in a corner of the counter far from S's reach. Suitable activities for her to participate in need to be identified and prepped before I enlist her help. Then we can both have a good time, and I won't have to fret about how to salvage a recipe tweaked by S when my back was turned ;).

Cook dinner earlier in the day. Seriously, 5 o'clock is when everyone in my house loses it. The baby is screaming, the toddler is screaming; I am tired and hungry, they are tired and hungry. Putting off dinner prep until then is a recipe for disaster. When Niall walks in at 5:30, I want him to be greeted by happy kids, a cheerful wife, and a hot meal. Not a frazzled woman with two irritable children and something burning on the stove :).

When I plan ahead what we will be eating, tackle as much as possible of the prep-work when everyone is fresh and well-behaved earlier in the day, 5 o'clock is a much more peaceable hour. I am free to attend to needy children without feeling stressed. We can dance and sing and snuggle, and be ready to greet Daddy with smiles.

Playing with (and taste-testing) bagel dough

Monkey see, monkey do. One thing I adore about this stage is that S wants to do everything Mommy does. Her unbridled enthusiasm for me won't last much longer, so I want to take advantage of it {hopefully even prolonging it by doing so}. If I'm vacuuming, S has her toy vacuum out. If I'm sweeping, she grabs her broom and then holds the dust pan for me. We pick up the living room as a team. Almost any task can be done together!

Does it take longer? Absolutely. I have to re-sweep multiple times because my neat pile has been spread across the floor all over again. But S is learning valuable life skills, and spending time with her mommy. And I am learning to develop mass quantities of patience :).

How do you get stuff done around the house with your toddler(s)?


Don't miss the rest of our series on toddlerhood through the month of September! And please join us for our toddler link-up on Friday the 27th- any and all posts on toddlers welcome {feel free to dig up your archives!}.  

Check out the other posts in this series:
Introduction
Cleaning Up with your Toddler 
Family Worship
Home Education

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