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How to Entertain Toddlers While Trying to Do Chores

by Susan Revermann

As if parenting a toddler isn’t challenging enough, your chores can't be magically whisked away. With your little one in tow, you’ll have to get creative if you want to get anything done around the house. Your main ally is distraction. If you want to get some laundry done, give your child something to do, too.

Grab a refrigerator box and turn it into a playhouse, rocket ship or bear cave. You could also build a fort out of blankets and chairs. Encourage your child to grab picture books, a couple of favorite toys and crawl into her special place. A bin of dress-up clothes works, too. While she’s safely playing, you can escape to dust or vacuum.

Throw some special toys in a bin and hide it somewhere that your child will not have regular access to. When it’s cleaning time, pull out the special toys. When your toddler loses interest or you’re done with your chores, clean the toys up and put them away.

Turn her into a special helper. A kiddie broom and dustpan can turn her into a cleaning machine. Give her a handful of socks to pair up or a couple of shirt to try to fold. It might end up crumpled, but at least you were able to put the rest away. A washcloth and a squirt bottle of water are distracting and entertaining. She might even get some of the dog slobber off of the windows while she’s at it.

Pull out a bin of art supplies and tell your toddler that Daddy needs a welcome-home card, her brother would like a smiley picture or grandma needs a thank-you note. Paper, markers, glue sticks, buttons, ribbon and foam shapes can distract a little one for a long time.

Ask an older sibling to read to your toddler or play a game with her while you work. If siblings aren't around, try coordinating with another mom to exchange play times. That way, you both can schedule your cleaning time when your child is playing with the other child. If all else fails, call grandma.

Clean when your child is napping. Although this is not the time to vacuum, you can clean the bathroom or mop the floor in a quiet manner so you don't disturb your slumbering child.

Items you will need
  • Refrigerator box
  • Blankets and chairs
  • Books
  • Toys
  • Toy bin
  • Art supplies

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images