Saturday, January 22, 2011

How to keep your toddler busy for 15 minutes (StaySaneSunday)

Anyone who has ever spent more than a couple of minutes with a 2-3 y.o knows how difficult it is to keep toddlers entertained. This becomes a gigantic tasks if you have to do it day by day, and for hours. How hard the job of parents of a toddler can be, only another toddler's parent can know. On the top of that many parents work, and all of them have to do cooking, cleaning, washing, shopping and everything else called life. Been there, done that.

Unfortunately, at this stage many children are still unable to play by themselves for longer than a few minutes.
Most of the time toddlers' parents are happy to play with their children, read them the same books gazillion of times, sing brain-washing songs and smile, but there are times in every parent life when they've had enough.

What to do if all you want is a little peace and quiet and your toddler is clinging to your leg?

How to keep your toddler busy playing on their own for 15 minutes?

1. Make sure that your house or the room your child is in is toddler-proofed.
Think: hot surfaces, small items, sharp object - anything that can be potentially dangerous in your child's hands should be hidden from his/her reach. Never underestimate toddler's creativity and ability to wreak havoc.

2. Rotate your child's toys
Divide toys and books in a couple of groups (boxes) and rotate them. Put a couple of 'favourites' in each box, but make sure that the Absolutely Favourite Toy is always out and available. If you have friends with a child of similar age, you can try swapping toys with their child.
When you feel like you may 'loose it', get one of the boxes out. Your child will be excited to 're-discover' his/her new toys.

3. Make up and have a 'Rainy Day Box' always ready.
Put a new toy and/or a never-read book, fresh art supplies, a new game, or things like your old mobile phone or makeup bag. Don't overuse it. The instant attraction of the RDB is its specialness.

4. Put them in front of an age appropriate TV programme or put their favourite DVD on.
Research shows that too much TV long term can harm a young child, and the maximum recommended amount of time spent by a toddler in front of a TV should not exceed 2 hours.
This is all true - TV should be watched in a healthy way and it's best when parents can watch the programme with their child, but when you're just about to lose your sanity, 15 minutes of their favourite cartoon may actually do more good than bad to your child, you, and your long-term relationship.

What are your ways of keeping your toddler busy when you need to restore your sanity?

photo by Filomena Scalise courtesy of

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