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Mama Needs to Work: 15 Ways I Distract My Toddlers to Get Stuff Done

A while back ago I shared a some ideas on how to keep toddlers busy. My editors and reader friends liked it so much, you/they asked me to do something more focused – ways that I distract my toddlers for longer periods of time during my workday.

So, for all of you mamas who work from home or out of the home or whatever it is you do, this is for you. We ALL need ways to distract our toddlers, aside from TV. Which I am a big fan of…but, all the time? I’m trying to avoid from turning them into complete zombies, so.

10 Ways I Distract My Toddlers To Get Sh*t Done, after the jump!


  • Television 1 of 15
    Television
    Oh hells yes. I'm gonna put that right out there as numero uno. This retro classic starring the likes of Morgan Freeman and Bill Cosby captures both of my children into deep, transient like states. Where they occasionally jump up and sing and dance along. Bonus that it's not to that big purple dinosaur. Not gonna lie. I'll take the fact that they still call each-other stupid on old kids shows from the 70's over that PC dinosaur any day. Plus, Morgan Freeman. Bill Cosby.
    Photo Credit: IMDB
  • Stickers & Sticker/Tracing Activity Books 2 of 15
    Stickers & Sticker/Tracing Activity Books
    For a while now - stickers have always been one of the greatest activities that would distract my toddler. Now tracing books (especially any involving letters and numbers), are right up there with that. So I give both to my eldest toddler and just the stickers to my youngest and do a little happy dance as they cover themselves, the constructions paper, the couch...whatever, in stickers. Point is, I'm getting work done.
  • Sweet Temptations 3 of 15
    Sweet Temptations
    You know all those things you usually don't let your toddler do, but you have a looming deadline? Yea. Let them do/eat/play with that stuff. Within reason of course, but seriously. Everything will be okay.
  • Lure Them In 4 of 15
    Lure Them In
    We've created a couple of cozy nooks for our tots to hunker down in. To read, play with the iPhone, have a snack, build with blocks - basically everything is better when they have their own, cozy little spot.
    Photo Credit: Built By Kids
  • Sweet Set Up 5 of 15
    Sweet Set Up
    Sheet forts and flashlights. I've only recently become aware of how truly awesome this is. Help my toddlers build a fort, give them some flashlights and books = toddler valium. The only problem is tearing myself away from not joining them. Like I said. Sheet Forts. Flashlights.
    5 Ways To Build The Perfect Kids Fort
  • Montessori Obstacle Course 6 of 15
    Montessori Obstacle Course
    We have shelving units in the lower playroom wherein I can set up a different activity on each shelf, within their reach. Sure, I have to come in now and then to break up a wrestling match, but for the most part - they are engrossed for at least an hour. More if I keep engaging them.
    Find 10 DIY Montessori Activities here.
    Find 7 More here.
  • ‘Evil’ Technology 7 of 15
    'Evil' Technology
    iPads. The single most BEST INVENTION EVER. For toddlers. Perhaps (arguably), for all.
  • Crafting Free For All 8 of 15
    Crafting Free For All
    Engaging your little one in arts and crafts does not have to look like this. Forget the paint. Forget the glitter. There are so many materials that they can use that are less traumatic in the end. Toddlers need this kind of stuff, just like they need fresh air, parks and cuddles.
    7 Ways To Engage Your Toddlers Cretivity
  • Trains, Planes & Automobiles 9 of 15
    Trains, Planes & Automobiles
    If I take 15 minutes out to set up tracks and play with with my little guy, he'll play quietly for an hour or more on his own. Unless, of course his Toddler Sister-Zilla is around. Then it's game-over. This is a good one for when she's napping.
    Photo Credit: Sono Bella Photography
  • Sensory Bin 10 of 15
    Sensory Bin
    First, one has to get over the idea of mess. Kids are messy. Mostly ALL of a toddler's joy is found in mess making. I'd rather let them have at it with arts and crafts or sensory bins and clean up (WITH them) after. I feel good about not plunking them down in front of the boob tube all the time, just to avoid having to clean up a mess.
    Photo Credit & DIY Fall Farm Sensory Bin Courtesy: No Time For Flash Cards
  • Look! Shiny! 11 of 15
    Look! Shiny!
    I let them bust out the bubbles in the sun-room / main foyer. This gives me about 20 min to 1/2 an hour while I sit in the room with them working.
  • Change of Scenery 12 of 15
    Change of Scenery
    The library is one of my favourite destinations for this. Now that it gets dark so early and as the days get colder and colder - there's really not much else place we can go where they are fully entertained.
  • Puzzles. All of Them. 13 of 15
    Puzzles. All of Them.
    I lay out as many puzzles that I can spread out on our dining room table. Heck, I'll even put the leaves in, to make a really impressive spread, which he LOVES. If he follows the procession, I give him a marshmallow after completing each puzzle. Is this wrong?
  • Run For The Hills 14 of 15
    Run For The Hills
    While I sure as heck don't look like that (as in hello hot fittie) when I'm making a mad run for it, the facial expression is quite similar. I realize I am SO lucky to have a partner and friends/family who take over the reigns when I need a 'break' to get some focused work done, or when I'm crunching a deadline.
  • Give Up…Tomorrow Is Another Day 15 of 15
    Give Up…Tomorrow Is Another Day
    Good things come to those who know when to quit and start again the next day.

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More Babbles From Selena…

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Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Creative Director. Social Media & Branding Consultant. Regular writer on Disney Baby. Part-time big-mouth & frequent foot-eater. Proud of her Anishinaabe roots.

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