Taking care of a toddler while trying to squeeze in housework can be a major source of stress.

How to Balance Housework and Taking Care of a Toddler

by Kristen Fisher

Whether you’re home all day with your toddler or you spend your nights and weekends playing catch-up on the housework, every mom has faced the challenge of squeezing in chores while caring for a child. Implementing a few strategies can make for a more-organized home, a stress-free Mommy and even a toddler who can’t wait to pitch in.

1. Lower Your Expectations

Maybe that sink full of dishes can’t wait until tomorrow, but do you really need those windows washed today? An impeccably clean home has its merits, but when you have a 2-year-old tugging at your skirt, striving for perfection will only serve to add a few gray hairs to your head. Instead, prioritize your chores so you know ahead of time which tasks are must-dos and which can go undone when the day gets crazy.

2. Create a Schedule

To help your toddler anticipate your housework breaks, create a visual schedule using stickers or colorful drawings that show the day’s activities, including playtime, lunch and naps as well as short blocks of time for cleaning and other housework. Saying, "I’ll play with you in 20 minutes when I’m done vacuuming" is probably lost on your 2-year-old, but letting him see a colorful schedule that shows a picture of a vacuum sandwiched between a playtime sticker and a lunchtime sticker will help him understand what’s coming and when. Stick to the same schedule every day and your toddler will come to accept your cleaning breaks as part of his routine.

3. Get Her Involved

In a perfect world, your toddler would let you fold laundry and cook dinner while she sits happily nearby and plays with her toys. But when reality hits and your daughter won't let go of your leg, ask her for some help with the chores instead. Give her a kid-sized broom or have her toss toys into the toy box. Even if the task takes you a bit longer, you'll keep her entertained and help build her self-worth by showing her that she can contribute around the house.

4. Make the Most of Playtime

There’s nothing wrong with letting your toddler entertain himself while you get a few chores done, but when the dishes are done and it’s time to play with your child again, make it quality time. Giving him your undivided attention prevents him from feeling neglected when you do need to step away and do some cleaning. So the next time your son begs, "Mommy, come play with me," resist the temptation to check your phone or leaf through a magazine while helping him stack blocks. Even if he doesn't seem to notice, a toddler is well-aware when you’re not really present in these activities, and he may start to feel like you’re never paying attention, whether you’re sitting on the floor with him or vacuuming in the next room.

About the Author

Kristen Fisher is a freelance writer and editor with professional experience in both print and online media. She has published articles on a wide variety of topics including health, fitness, nutrition, home and food, and her work has appeared in "Connections Magazine" and on Lifescript.com. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in psychology.

Photo Credits

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