Mama, have you noticed how difficult the simplest of tasks can be when your little toddlers are underfoot? Allow me to share a few examples with you:
- You try to load the dishwasher while your child attempts to close the dishwasher door.
- You put clothes away in a drawer and your little one pulls them out of the drawer. Or you hang up clothes in the closet just to have your child pull them off the hanger after you.
- You wipe down a window or mirror and your kid places their hands, mouth or any other body part on the glass.
Sound familiar? Here are 3 tips to help you acknowledge, accept, and take action in everyday tasks as a Mama of toddlers! (3 A’s to be and A+ toddler Mama!)
Tip #1: Acknowledge your season of life.
Fact: You are a Mama.
Fact: Your child requires and deserves your time, affection, and attention.
Oh the joys of motherhood! You grew and birthed a bundle of joy who has matured into a curious toddler. Being a Mama requires selflessness and patience, among many other attributes. The first step to thriving as a Mama of toddlers is to acknowledge your season of life.
Recognize where you are on the spectrum of life. You’ve progressed beyond teenage years and the wild parties of early adulthood. You had your time to live it up…and you will continue to! But motherhood transforms what your season looks like.
Accept that you will be changing diapers, cradling sick kids, doing laundry (and more laundry, and yet still more laundry), feeding children that act as if they haven’t eaten in days, and staying home for a bedtime routine.
The days of regularly eating late dinners in fancy restaurants may be gone, but you have the privilege to dine nightly with your children who think you hung the moon.
The days of being a clothing shopaholic may have passed, but now you have mini dolls to dress for every occasion!
The days of staying up late may dwindle away, but mornings can offer a fresh perspective on this season of life.
Fill in the blank for yourself: The days of (fill in the blank) may be gone, but (fill in the blank). What does this season offer to you? Acknowledge this joyful position as Mama…this is step 1 towards thriving as a Mama of toddlers!
Tip #2: Accept that your child is simply imitating you – not pushing your buttons on purpose.
Yes, it may take you twice as long to load the dishwasher, clean house, or put away laundry, but you get to do those tasks with your sidekick by your side!
Your young child is an explorer, engineer, scientist, student, musician, architect, doctor, and so much more! And I mean those things literally.
Although you may feel like your child who is closing the door of your dishwasher is in opposition to you, the reality is probably that your little one knows doors are made to open and close (like an engineer).
Perhaps you can’t stand when you’re cleaning and your kid comes up right beside you to mess it up. As a young child, she probably wants to see if the mirror has any buttons or textures that her little fingers can feel (scientist). Or maybe he is curious what will happen when he bangs another toy against the surface (musician).
It may make you crazy that your kid is crawling behind the refrigerator (explorer) or dumping water on a bath towel (scientist).
Tip #2 is all about recognizing your toddler’s motives. Is your little one actually pushing your buttons on purpose to make you angry? Is she undoing your work to make you frustrated? Is he trailing behind you to annoy you? Chances are likely that your toddler is perfectly performing their career as an explorer, scientist, student, musician, architect, doctor, etc. And if we’re honest, the job of a child is to learn and grow.
Next time you want to snap at your child for making tasks even more difficult, consider tip #3.
Tip #3: Take action to make your child your priority.
Action. I know, you already take plenty of actions as a busy Mama…laundry, cooking, cleaning, educating, feeding, driving, etc. But here are a few actions that are worth your additional energy.
- When you load the dishwasher, allow your child to load their plastic plates, bowl and utensils into the dishwasher. Yes, you will probably need to rearrange them in the end, but this provides your toddler the chance to imitate how you load the dishwasher and feel like a valuable contributor. Plus, it will keep him from slamming the dishwasher door shut!
- When you fold laundry, give your child a pile of socks or towels to “fold.” Again, you will likely need to complete the task after your child, but she can practice folding like Mama and could even help put things in their proper place (with instruction). Bonus: This is a prime opportunity to teach your child to listen to instructions. “This is Mama’s pile of laundry to fold. This is your pile of laundry to fold. Please don’t touch my pile. If you want help, tell Mama, ‘Help please.’”
- While cleaning, give your toddler their own cleaning supplies: a rag and a mini spray bottle of water. Ask her to spray and wipe a window, the floor, or a cabinet. Bonus: If you use a combination of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water, your child will actually be cleaning house with you! And it’s non-toxic so you don’t need to worry if your baby touches, drinks, or rubs this on their skin.
- When putting away laundry or toys, provide your child one job at a time. Perhaps you put away all of the towels but let your son put the rags in your rag basket, or ask you daughter to place the washcloths in the pile with other washcloths.
Things to keep in mind:
- Perfection is not the goal. The main idea is to foster your child’s curiosity and allow him to participate.
- This is training. Although she may not be cleaning or doing a thorough job at these initial tasks, you’re training her for the day when she will participate in household chores.
- It won’t take you any extra time. Consider how long it takes when you keep refolding clothes or opening up the dishwasher…instead of getting frustrated in those moments, you can use that time to be intentional with your toddler.
Acknowledge, Accept, Take Action
You are a fantastic Mama! Imagine how much better you’ll be when you purposefully remember to acknowledge, accept and take action (3 A’s toward being an A+ Toddler Mom).