Toddlers can help do simple chores.

How to Entertain Toddlers While Trying to Do Chores

by Eliza Martinez

Does your house look like a tornado tore through it? You probably have a toddler, which means he's making a mess every time you turn your back, and being busy with a small child means you just don't have time to keep up with housework. Short of hiring a maid, what's a mom to do? Find a way to keep your toddler entertained while you're getting your chores done, and maybe you can postpone the mischief you know he's planning to make.

Let your toddler help. You won't get Martha Stewart-approved work, and you might have to lower your standards, but many young children like to clean. Wet a rag with warm water and mild dish soap and let him wipe down furniture, counters or the walls. He might do such a good job that you won't have to do it again later. Other chores toddlers are capable of include holding the dustpan, putting away toys and putting laundry in the hamper.

Bring out a box of special toys. These are items he is only allowed to play with when you do housework. Put in toys that hold his interest, or you'll be putting down your broom and searching for him every couple of minutes. Let's be honest -- moms don't clean as much as they'd like, so each time you bring out the box, your toddler will feel like he's getting new toys.

Turn on a movie. No, you shouldn't let the television babysit your child, no matter how tempting it is, but an occasional movie is a fun way to keep your toddler entertained so your family doesn't have to live in their own filth. Choose a movie that is age-appropriate, and don't forget to check on your toddler often to make sure he hasn't wandered off to undo all your hard work.

Invite a playmate over. You might be wondering how you could possibly get anything done when you have not one but two toddlers in your house. However, many young children play well with a friend and put aside their constant neediness. Suddenly, your toddler is entertained and doesn't need you to do it. Make sure the children are safe, and speed-clean as much as you can before they start screaming for a snack. Hey, you might even impress your mom friend with your housekeeping skills when she gets back to pick up her child! An alternate idea is to find a place for your child to play, like Grandma's, while you clean.


  • Only allow your child to clean with mild soap and non-toxic cleaners to prevent overexposure to harsh chemicals.

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

Photo Credits

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