Living with a toddler – daily survival tips

If you’re a parent you’ll know the feeling well… the hell am I going to get through the next 12 hours (or more if you have a cheeky monkey).  The start of the day seems so far from the end.  Matt works long hours during the week and on a Friday I don’t work so Florence isn’t at nursery and we spend the whole day together.

I have put together some tips, or just notes I guess, on what I do to make the day seem more bearable.  I know I make it sound like I hate spending time with her but I don’t, I love it but you need a plan. A toddler likes to be kept busy and sometimes it can seem a little overwhelming having to act like a kids entertainer for 12 hours straight.

1. Live in the moment
The worst thing you can do is countdown the hours until bedtime.  This will only make the day seem longer and you will feel like you’re rushing to get to the next job on the list.  Instead think about the moment you’re in, whether its brushing their teeth after breakfast or choosing their outfit.  Don’t make it a job to do to get the day started, make it part of the day.  Perhaps let them choose their own outfit *insert monkey covering eyes emoji* or practice colours by asking them to find the yellow t-shirt.  Find the fun in the moment.

2. Compartmentalise
I find that boxing the day off into slots helps.  So I might say between 6am (!!) and 9am we’re going to chill out in the lounge as we don’t have anywhere specific to be.  Three hours is a long time (a quarter of the day knocked off already) but within that time we will fit in breakfast, TV time, iPad time and Florence will no doubt make me a mushroom and cauliflower burger in her kitchen.  The next slot of the day will be between 9-10am whilst we go upstairs and get dressed.

3. It’s ok to do nothing
This point relates to the above.  Don’t stress or feel mummy guilt about letting them watch TV or use the iPad to watch someone unwrapping eggs. It’s not going to make them stupid.  We all need ‘down time’ and that goes for kids too, there will be plenty of time for activities later in the day.  Whilst they watch a bit of TV stick a load of washing on or polish the lounge.

4. Housework
My daughter always wants to help with the housework so I take her up on the offer.  Not only does it take longer (thus using up more of the day) but it teaches her to help out AND I get the housework done.  Florence’s favourite job is hanging the wet clothes on the airer.  I always have to redo it but she loves it so I just roll with it.

5. Walking
Cheap, accessible and good for you.  If you find yourself at a loose end just go for a walk! If you have a park nearby that’s a bonus.  I am yet to meet a kid that doesn’t love being outside.  Depending on the age of the child you could challenge them to find certain things along the way or hop on one foot for 10 paces.  The best bit about going for a walk is the snuggling up on the sofa afterwards when they’re tired!

6. Get involved!
This will be different for everyone but, as an example, I have a gym membership which allows me to take Florence to parent and toddler swim sessions.  These sessions fall on a Friday and is a great way to use an hour of the day but at the same time Florence is having fun, exercising and learning a new, vital skill.  Even if you don’t have a membership to a pool, swimming is relatively inexpensive.  There are bound to be other sessions going on in the local area for parents just like you, whether its messy play, coffee mornings or crafts at the church.  I find Facebook great for finding out about stuff like this – just join your local pages.

7. Crafting
You don’t have to be a Pinterest addict to come up with some simple crafts for your kid. Simple crayons and paper can be just as much fun as creating a sensory play area. They just need to be kept engaged.  My daughter loves it when I write her name and then she copies it beneath.  Or she has to guess what I am drawing.  Cutting, sticking and painting are also high on the agenda.

PicMonkey Collage

Florence had us up at 5:30am this morning so as I write this she is watching the iPad and we’ve shared a plate of toast.  We’re both still in our pj’s and will be for the next hour or so.  Whilst she’s occupied I have put a load of washing on and loaded the dishwasher.  I’m not sure how the rest of the day is going to shape up as I try not to think much farther then the next hou

How do you get through the day? What are your tips?



  1. May 23, 2015 / 6:24 pm

    Love this 🙂 I, too, have a toddler and my best way of surviving each day is just to close my eyes when I see something stressful. Cup of juice splashing to the floor? Close my eyes! Dirty pull-up being chucked into the baby’s crib? Close my eyes! Ketchup being used as finger paint on the wood floors? Close my eyes! And then when I re-open them, all I see is his little cuteness staring back at me 🙂

    • admin
      May 26, 2015 / 10:49 am

      Ha ha – excellent strategy Shivonne! I will have to give it a go. x

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