#AskAbby: How do you get things done with a toddler?

For those of you with a small child, you know how much attention they require! Though we love giving our kids all the attention in the world… sometimes we still need to get things done without them. These are my 5 survival tips for when productivity is needed around the little ones:


  1. Teach your toddler to respect when you’re busy. I know, I know, easier said than done!! Repetition is key here… eventually, when they learn that their time will come when Mom or Dad is finished with what they are doing, they’ll begin to learn some patience. This happens over time and is no quick fix but it’s the basis for instilling patience in toddlers early on.
  2. Snacks. Sometimes a little hunger is behind the grab for attention, always having healthy snacks on deck is helpful! Pre-portioned carrots, celery, berries, etc. is a great way to boost your child’s fruit and veggie intake while also giving them a distraction (and hopefully learn to enjoy healthy snacks as well!) Bonus points for snacks they can play with… hand over the celery sticks, a lump of a nut butter, and some raisins with instructions on how to make “ants on a log” and you’ve just bought enough time to pay the bills. 
  3. Vitamin D. We’re lucky enough in California that we pretty much have sunshine all year around which is perfect for the kiddos! Fresh air, space to run around in the yard, and some plants to explore is usually enough for Willow’s imagination to run wild for at least a little while. If you don’t have a backyard, try to bring your own task into the outdoors so you can watch the kids. Doing your own to-do’s in the outdoors might just make them more enjoyable as well!
  4. Inclusion. Since Willow is about to be a big sister, we’re really starting to teach her what responsibility is. I’ve begun to task her with simple tasks… putting toys away, counting things for me, matching socks, bringing in the mail, etc.. She also loves to “help” with some of my tasks… whether it’s working on the blog or decorating rooms in the new house!
  5. Bag of activities. I bring this bag with me everywhere and keep a bunch of little play things in there… coloring books, markers, play dough, figurines, blocks, books, etc.. I like to keep exactly what’s inside a mystery so she’s always guessing what I’m about to pull out!

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