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Do you think it's easier to get stuff done with a toddler by....

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 

a.  Insisting they leave you entirely alone while you focus on getting something done as quickly as possible, and then focus on the child afterwards, or

b.  Allowing interruptions and distractions, giving a bit of yourself to the task, a bit to your child, until the task is completed. 

 

Both options probably take the same amount of time.  My personality makes me really suited to option A, but it just never seems to work with my 3 year old...

post #2 of 37
I have to have option a. My little boy will not let me get anything done. I have some help during the day. Even so, if he's home I can't get anything done so he actually has to be out of the house. Otherwise NOTHING will get done. Doing laundry is so relaxing to me, it's amazing! Lol
post #3 of 37

Guess it depends on the task.  Something important, like filling out a job application, or calling the credit card company...I need to be alone and focused.  Making up my grocery list or cleaning house? That I do interrupted all the time!  But I'm a bit of a procrastinator so it suits me well ;-)

post #4 of 37
I agree that it depends on the job. My preference is always for peace and no interruptions but, back in my actual reality, I just try to prioritise a few things to be done in my toddler-free moments.
post #5 of 37
Thread Starter 

See, when things are time sensitive, or when I'm stressed about getting stuff done, though, I always FEEL like the best way to approach it is with option a, just get it done, then I'll be free to hang out with DD.  But then I spend the whole time reminding her that I'm trying to get something done, so it still takes forever!  I'm really struggling with this in our morning routine, because I'm very much a "work first play later" person.  I just want to get my morning stuff done and get us all ready for the day.  THEN play, do activities, go places, whatever.  But it just never works.  Sigh.  I'm really wondering if things would get done just as fast - and with less struggle - if I just followed DD's lead more and got my stuff done in the moments where she's actually occupied enough to not care. 

post #6 of 37
I try to give my DS some good play time in the morning and it helps a ton in terms of breaking away to accomplish things more quickly once he's been settled into play. It actually doesn't take that much time for him to get caught up in his own story line and start ignoring me. It definitely pays off to give them a little focus right off the bat instead of trying to make them wait, Imo.
post #7 of 37
Impossible. Lol! As soon as I start working on something, even if my daughter had just been entertaining herself quite well, she'll start hanging onto my legs.
post #8 of 37
Can I ask what sort of stuff you want to get done? I'm like you, I want my work done before play and it's hard to change my habits to suit a toddler.

For things like unpacking the dishwasher, making bread, washing etc I do it around them. So, for example, I make breakfast for them and they sit at the table and eat while I do the dishwasher or make bread. Or DD1 eats in the learning tower and DD2 plays on the floor sometimes. Dd1 likes to help measure ingredients so she can do that from the tower if she wants to.

Washing I put in the machine while they play in the playroom. We use movable hanging racks for drying so I usually hang and take down/fold washing in the lounge room.

The things I have real problems with are things I need to concentrate on, like sewing etc where she wants to be right on top of me doing what I'm doing. And I've tried setting her up with her own activity. It lasts about two seconds and then she wants mine. And if she does do her own thing she still requires constant talking which is the hardest thing of all for me cope with.
post #9 of 37
Yes, it depends on the task but I use option b most of the time. Ds puts laundry in the dryer, he helps me pour cooking ingredients in the bowls and stirs, he sweeps the kitchen floor. It tAkes a lot longer to get things done but I just try to be resolved and he has so much fun helping me. Though, he cannot help me compose emails or make phone calls and I usually save it for when he becomes involved with his jigsaw puzzles or book on cd or when he is sleep like right now!
post #10 of 37

Definitely depends on task - but maybe it depends on the personality of the child too?

Mine is spoiled (for want of a much less negative word) by having had round the clock parental attention (always one, sometimes both) and entertainment since she was born (now just over 3). She can keep herself engaged in an activity, but has a constant need to be watched, adored, acknowledged...and if bored, outrightly entertained.

 

I work from home, and it's been impossible to do with her around at all thus far. I think in the last six months I've gotten her to play in my 'office' whilst I worked for maybe an hour or so, maybe half a dozen times (?)...but she needs constant conversation during that to encourage her to keep going - and music blaring from my computer, all of which is zero-conducive to concentrating and getting things done properly. In fact, I make mistakes when I try to work like this. Not good.

 

Our only solution thus far, since she is not in daycare or preschool (preschool soon maybe...out of desperation...?) is my partner takes her out of the house for 2.5 hours most mornings. Then...if I'm lucky and she'll sleep at 'nap' time (all these inverted commas, because nothing is quite how it should be - naps are nearly no longer unfortunately) then I get another hour and a half. LUCKILY, my job is such I can get nearly a full days work done if I have 3-4 hours a day - the trouble is, this is not what it's like 50% of days.

 

I wish I knew the trick of getting them to occupy themselves - or rather....when does it start to kick in, age-wise?? OR...is mine just a bit 'spoiled' already by having a full time audience and circus troupe at the ready?

 

Oh - and for household type things, I just try and keep up my chatter so she feels engaged with me...but also run around her doing things that need doing. I will stop and focus on her if I can sense she's about to melt down. Occasionally I try and get her involved, but she seems to be at a stage where she just makes a complete mess of anything I'm trying to sort/tidy/do....ummm...deliberately too.

E.g. We've just moved house...would love it if she could help me sort and unpack boxes. No chance. The contents of EVERYTHING just gets wildly scattered around the house....until the place resembles a bomb site. Can't get her to help pick it up. Nothing. 

Hmm. It is all rather frustrating now that I'm dwelling on it. And writing it out - maybe we have a discipline problem or two...?

 

 
Great question though!
post #11 of 37

It seems to vary here.  With my first son I would have to give him attention before, during and after.  With my second son he was more a drama king and demanded the attention so it was a little harder to balance it but he is 8 now and is the quiet one who is the less buggy one lol funny how that worked out.  My youngest son is almost 5 now and he is very demanding of attention still.  When cleaning or cooking I have to entertain him first then try to get something done, then stop a few minutes later to try to get him into something else just so he will leave me alone for 5 minutes.  He is still the type that stands outside the bathroom talking to me because he just thinks he should always have attention on him lol.

post #12 of 37

My personality also is really suited to option A

 

BUT

 

As my children are getting older (ages 4 and 7), I wish I had done more of B. B allows your child to learn the tasks that you do and feel like they are a part of it. I think it's much more likely for them to want to help out around the house as they get older if they help and are appreciated for it when then are younger, instead of being shooed from the room or told they are doing it wrong so let me just do it for you. I'm working on it more now, but I do feel as though I may have missed the mark when they were toddlers.

post #13 of 37
I would absolutely love option a, but that works about once every millennium for me. So then I aim for option two and that gets a little better results working about once every ten days. Our standard is for me to get stuff done when they are asleep although by then I'm often so tired that it gets put off until tomorrow and the cycle begins anew.
post #14 of 37

I do something a bit like option A with a few key strategies that help make it work at least for my kid. I spend some 100% child-focused time FIRST until they feel like they might be getting done with having my undivided attention, then set the kiddo up with a super-cool and semi-novel activity that they can do on their own near me. Then I try to finish my task efficiently while they play, perhaps throwing in some verbal narrating or acknowledging about their play as we go. And we reconnect in a more focused way when I am done with my task. 

post #15 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BabySmurf View Post

I try to give my DS some good play time in the morning and it helps a ton in terms of breaking away to accomplish things more quickly once he's been settled into play. It actually doesn't take that much time for him to get caught up in his own story line and start ignoring me. It definitely pays off to give them a little focus right off the bat instead of trying to make them wait, Imo.

 

I keep meaning to do this, but then we somehow end up running late and it doesn't happen.  I have noticed that even just stopping and giving her my undivided attention for 1 minute seems to help us get it together.  I can only imagine that a solid chunk at the start of the day would help even more.  I think someone else mentioned the Special Time, which is also something I've been really trying to start up but....(embarrassed to admit this)...I usually find myself too irritated to even think about spending 10 minutes doing whatever DD wants. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by katelove View Post

Can I ask what sort of stuff you want to get done? I'm like you, I want my work done before play and it's hard to change my habits to suit a toddler.

For things like unpacking the dishwasher, making bread, washing etc I do it around them. So, for example, I make breakfast for them and they sit at the table and eat while I do the dishwasher or make bread. Or DD1 eats in the learning tower and DD2 plays on the floor sometimes. Dd1 likes to help measure ingredients so she can do that from the tower if she wants to.

Washing I put in the machine while they play in the playroom. We use movable hanging racks for drying so I usually hang and take down/fold washing in the lounge room.

The things I have real problems with are things I need to concentrate on, like sewing etc where she wants to be right on top of me doing what I'm doing. And I've tried setting her up with her own activity. It lasts about two seconds and then she wants mine. And if she does do her own thing she still requires constant talking which is the hardest thing of all for me cope with.

 

There are some chores I can handle pretty well.  I'll set her up at the sink while I clean stuff in the kitchen, I try to get supper prep done while she has her mid-day showtime, etc.  It's really our morning routine that drives me nuts - and it's the talking that causes the problem.  She's definitely content to hang out with me while I make coffee and breakfast, but by the time it's made I am totally over talking, and feel all scatterbrained.  The after breakfast part is the worst.  She just continually begs me to play with her or do various things for her while I try to get dressed, hair, teeth, swipe the bathroom, make the bed, and pop in a load of laundry.  I just keep saying "We can do _____ when our morning routine is finished," but I tend to get pretty annoyed.  And then, by the end of it all, SHE still has to get dressed and fix her hair, and by that point she totally balks.  I think this time of day really gets to me because I'm deadset on getting us "company ready" first thing in the morning, presentable selves, presentable house, laundry ready to hang on the line.  And even if we don't have an activity planned, there's kind of a built-in deadline that we have to get out of the house before DD gets into her "weird" mood.  Oh, preschoolers. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grover View Post
 

Definitely depends on task - but maybe it depends on the personality of the child too?

Mine is spoiled (for want of a much less negative word) by having had round the clock parental attention (always one, sometimes both) and entertainment since she was born (now just over 3). She can keep herself engaged in an activity, but has a constant need to be watched, adored, acknowledged...and if bored, outrightly entertained.

 

I work from home, and it's been impossible to do with her around at all thus far. I think in the last six months I've gotten her to play in my 'office' whilst I worked for maybe an hour or so, maybe half a dozen times (?)...but she needs constant conversation during that to encourage her to keep going - and music blaring from my computer, all of which is zero-conducive to concentrating and getting things done properly. In fact, I make mistakes when I try to work like this. Not good.

 

Our only solution thus far, since she is not in daycare or preschool (preschool soon maybe...out of desperation...?) is my partner takes her out of the house for 2.5 hours most mornings. Then...if I'm lucky and she'll sleep at 'nap' time (all these inverted commas, because nothing is quite how it should be - naps are nearly no longer unfortunately) then I get another hour and a half. LUCKILY, my job is such I can get nearly a full days work done if I have 3-4 hours a day - the trouble is, this is not what it's like 50% of days.

 

I wish I knew the trick of getting them to occupy themselves - or rather....when does it start to kick in, age-wise?? OR...is mine just a bit 'spoiled' already by having a full time audience and circus troupe at the ready?

 

Oh - and for household type things, I just try and keep up my chatter so she feels engaged with me...but also run around her doing things that need doing. I will stop and focus on her if I can sense she's about to melt down. Occasionally I try and get her involved, but she seems to be at a stage where she just makes a complete mess of anything I'm trying to sort/tidy/do....ummm...deliberately too.

E.g. We've just moved house...would love it if she could help me sort and unpack boxes. No chance. The contents of EVERYTHING just gets wildly scattered around the house....until the place resembles a bomb site. Can't get her to help pick it up. Nothing. 

Hmm. It is all rather frustrating now that I'm dwelling on it. And writing it out - maybe we have a discipline problem or two...?

 

 
Great question though!

 

I feel ya, Grover.  I have to keep looking back and remembering how much worse she was at entertaining herself last year than this.  At least now she's really gung ho about her own play and ideas and whatnot.  She just asks me to help her or get something for her or look at something literally every 30 seconds.  I know.  I have timed it.

post #16 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yarnaholik View Post
 

My personality also is really suited to option A

 

BUT

 

As my children are getting older (ages 4 and 7), I wish I had done more of B. B allows your child to learn the tasks that you do and feel like they are a part of it. I think it's much more likely for them to want to help out around the house as they get older if they help and are appreciated for it when then are younger, instead of being shooed from the room or told they are doing it wrong so let me just do it for you. I'm working on it more now, but I do feel as though I may have missed the mark when they were toddlers.

 

This is a good point.  Man, I just wish she didn't talk so much!!! I would be so happy to have her help me with stuff and tag along with me all day if we didn't have to constantly chit chat. 

post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post
 

 I think this time of day really gets to me because I'm deadset on getting us "company ready" first thing in the morning, presentable selves, presentable house, laundry ready to hang on the line.

LOL my house is "company ready" when we are planning to have someone over....it's about the only time things are really organized and tidy! :rotflmao  And not that my house is dirty, I do the basic cleaning (2 cats, 2 dogs, a toddler - vacuuming happens frequently, like 2x a day) but one day I gave in and said the heck with it, she's only little once! I'm not such a huge slob that I fear she will develop bad habits, so play time it is.  Really, at this point cleaning is still play to her so she has no problems putting laundry in the washer or running a broom across the floor for me!

post #18 of 37
Thread Starter 

Hah!  I know, company ready does sound silly.  But, really, my standards aren't that high :)  I make the bed, clear the recycling, clean up the kitchen after meals, run a load of laundry, and swipe-clean the bathroom, and that about does it.  But we have a really small house with poor organizational capabilities, so, for instance, if I don't clear away the dried dishes from the counter in the morning, I don't have room to make breakfast.  A lot of our private business resides out in the open, so it can really be embarrassing if someone drops by and there's, like, a bra hanging from a chair in the living room, or a gigantic hair-wad in the shower.  (Both of which have definitely happened....and I was definitely embarrassed!)

 

And, like I mentioned before, I would love to have her tag along and do chores with me all the time.  I would....love to love that.  But I just can't seem to get over my irritation at the constant talking.  It makes me crazy. 

post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post
 

 

This is a good point.  Man, I just wish she didn't talk so much!!! I would be so happy to have her help me with stuff and tag along with me all day if we didn't have to constantly chit chat. 

 

Oh, man, I totally agree. I sometimes say stuff like "I don't want to talk about my food/clothes anymore" or "Don't talk about other people's food, you can talk about your own food if you want", which sometimes gets her off the topic for half a minute. But mostly it is this constant commentary on everything that drives me bonkers.

 

I think I use option c. do as little as possible... Sometimes she's distracted by something else and I can get some stuff done. Other times she's hanging around my ankles and I try to find stuff she can help with. She can help put plates and silverware in the dishwasher, and go get plates from the other room and bring them to me. If I can get her to focus on something slightly different than what I'm focusing on, there is ALWAYS trash on the floor to pick up *sigh*... stuff like used tissues, receipts, random pieces of paper, little bits of junk, and sometimes I can get her to look around for trash and put it in the trash can. She helps put clothes in the dryer and helps me hang clothes on the line. Her "help" does not actually expedite any of these activities, but it keeps her engaged. Also when I'm working in the yard I can often get her involved by passing her stuff to put in the yard waste can (since most of my work in the yard seems to involve tearing stuff out that doesn't belong there). 

post #20 of 37

For me it depends on the task. Laundry, tidying and cleaning I can happily let her join in (it takes much longer and things usually get messier before they get better) however filling in important forms, banking etc are all impossible with a toddler!

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