Balancing Mommy Time and Toddler Time
Someone asked me, “How do you find a balance between giving your child your attention and also being able to get things done?”
Sometimes we ask the wrong questions
· We can set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration by the way we view a situation.
· A lot of effective parenting has to do with our perspective.
· A better question is: how can I help my toddler be more independent?
· Why is the original question more difficult? Because you are in the frame of mind that “I need to get my toddler busy doing something so I can get things done.”
Changing the way we view parenting
· A happier way to think is: It is my job to teach my child.
· I will make decisions based on: What are ways I can help my child learn good life skills. I will most likely not be able to have lots of quiet uninterrupted time with a toddler and that’s okay! But I can help teach her some skills to be more independent.
· The irony is, if you are not pushing your kids away, they are more likely to feel secure and go off on their own.
Make your child part of your day
· The short answer is: include your child in what you are doing. If you are writing a thank you note, give them paper and crayons. If you are vacuuming, give them a play vacuum or toy to pretend vacuum. If you are unloading the dishwasher, let them sort and put away the silverware.
· Play with your child and teach them different ways to play. Then walk away and let them play by themselves.
· Allow your child stay in the same room with you and let them move to another room when they are comfortable.
Enjoy the process, expect this to take time
· Sometimes we set our selves up for failure by expecting our child to do things the way we do them. Or worse to do things perfectly.
· Look at your child through a lens of, “Wow, it’s so cool to see you learning new thing!” Have fun watching your child clean an already clean dish, or spill some water on the floor as they learn to clean their own dish.
· Understand this is learning, not really helping you.
· The change in perspective is “I am teaching them a skill that will eventually help me. Even if right now it seems like more work.”
Tips and tricks
· Most kids have too many toys, put some toys in a container and store somewhere accessable.
· Pull the box out when you need some time to yourself. Its amazing how these forgotten “new” toys entertain kids for a longer period of time.
· Have several projects handy. Help kids get started and then start a new one when they get restless.
· Change the room you are in, so kids have new environment to play.
· Tell kids, “I’m going to finish this work and I need you to play for 15 minutes.” and set a timer.