By Molly Hamilton

Let’s face it …mothers are very busy people. Whether you work outside of the home or stay at home, there are things that need to be done, why not do them with your child? Toddlers need a lot of attention. They crave it. They demand it. They will take it any way they can get it. Why not give your child the positive attention they love so much? It’s easy and it is fulfilling for Mom and Dad as well as the child.

  • Doing laundry – hand the wet clothes to your child as you take them out of the washer and he/she can place them into the dryer.
  • Dusting – Give your child a dry rag and guide him/her to a cleaned off coffee table or dresser to dust.
  • Setting the dinner table – get out the napkins, silverware, and anything else that is not breakable. Let your child set the table while you are cooking dinner.
  • Grocery shopping – Instead of placing your child in the cart and hurrying through the store, let you child retrieve the non-breakable items on your list (if they are on a shelf that he/she can reach).
  • Baking – after measuring everything out, let your toddler pour the ingredients in as you stir. They can also help you put things away when you are through.

You can count on these chores taking you longer, but since you are doing what is most important in the process (spending quality time with your child), then what’s the harm? If you complete these types of household chores while your child is awake and helping you, then when they go to bed (or nap), you have your own free time and you don’t have to spend it doing these tasks.

In the evening, when the whole family is together (if that time is not in the evening for your family, then whenever your family is all together):

  • Eat together at the table as a family. Talk about your day and what each of you did. With no distractions, this can be a time your child looks forward to each day.
  • Turn off the television set and/or computer for one hour every night and have interactive playtime with your child. (If you can’t do one hour, then set aside how ever much time you can of your undivided attention.):

– Give horsey rides
– Play Hide and Go Seek
– Play Games (Candy Land, Go Fish)
– Do Puzzles Together

At bedtime, clean up together. This will teach your child that they should clean up after themselves when they are through playing. Since you were playing too, help them. If you are helping, you are setting a good example and you are also more likely to get their cooperation.

Your favorite TV show, checking email and your friend’s phone call can wait. Your child can’t. They will grow up regardless if you are watching or not!

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(c), 2002
Molly Hamilton is a stay at home mother of three children. In her free time, she enjoys writing articles for, an online community for Moms in Iowa.
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