I feel really irritated with myself that I can't figure out how to deal with this, because I know it's done all the time, all over the world. I am going nuts trying to do housekeeping stuff with my young toddler around. If I'm folding laundry, he's taking the clothes and scattering them on the floor. I'm putting books back on the shelf, he is de-shelving them. I'm unloading the dishwasher, he's trying to climb into it. It's funny and cute, but gradually I turn into... I just want the #$%^&* dishes to be put away!
How do you guys do it?
At home amongst the redwoods with my husband and my son, born 7/5/11 Instant CNM, just add !
I remember that around here, not a whole lot of housekeeping or cooking got done when my son was this age. It was impossible! I saved up anything that super important for after he went to bed, or when he was taking a nap. I would also do things in small spurts (5 minutes here, 5 minutes there). Needless to say, meals during this time was pretty basic, and laundry got done infrequently...and anything else, just didn't get done to be honest.
I also remember that it got a lot better once he was past 18 months, and by the time he turned two, things just seemed so much easier.
I think the patch between 12 months and 18 months is hard because they're old enough to be quite mobile, and too young to be at all self-sufficient. It's a bad combo.
That WAS a hard age for chores. When my DD was that age, I'd open up the dishwasher and quickly grab all the breakable stuff from the bottom shelf and put it on the counter. Then she would hand the rest up to me one dish, fork, etc. at a time. It wasn't fast, but it got done. Laundry - she comes down with me to put in a load sometime in the morning, then to switch it in the afternoon. Folding I still only do in after she's in bed. That one is just impossible :) But nowadays she can put away all of her own clothes from the basket in the morning, and she was able to start doing that pretty early on. Maybe not 17 months, but not too far after.
Let's see...putting books on the shelf...I probably wouldn't bother. I usually do a "walkways only" toy pickup midday, and then a real pick-up in the evening after bedtime.
For vacuuming, she has not one, but TWO toy vacuum cleaners, one of which actually picks a little bit of stuff up. AND she uses Daddy's lightsaber as a cleaning wand. As long as I don't try to do too much at one time, she can keep herself pretty entertained.
Cooking is tough one. I can sometimes get good prep done if I sit at the table with her while she works on an activity, like drawing or puzzles, or having a snack. I will also sometimes let her play at the sink while I cook, which works pretty well. I don't know if you could do that at your son's age. Maybe not for a few months yet.
And I totally second the five minutes here or there thing. I would deliberately set up my chores in 5 minute segments and set the kitchen timer to do them. It's amazing to see the difference that 5 devoted minutes can make.
Oh, and if it's any encouragement, my daughter is 2.5 and lousy at independent play and I STILL have absolutely no problem getting dishes, laundry, vacuuming, quick bathroom clean-up, and even sometimes dusting done on a regular basis. And she doesn't even nap!
born on April 3 '10
It really is a horrible age for trying to get ANYTHING done. This past weekend, my older DD and I decided to tackle the house cleaning together. We swept. We mopped. Dusted. Wiped everything down. We went into the kitchen with the baby (17 months old) and she was playing with fridge magnets while we unloaded the dishwasher. She was RIGHT behind us, and our kitchen is tiny. How I didn't notice, I have no idea. She's whisper quiet when she's being naughty. =P I turned around to put some cutlery away and noticed her on the hardwood floor beside the kitchen...splashing. She had gotten the olive oil out. It was freaking EVERYWHERE. Little olive oil footprints littered the entire, freshly washed floor. I wanted to cry. Do you have any idea how hard that is to wash out? I did the only thing I could. I strapped her into her booster seat with a sweet snack so I could buy a few minutes to clean it up.
So there. That's my only suggestion. Strap them into a chair with some food or some coloring stuff, and clean as fast as humanly possible. That, or duct tape them to a wall.
Cleaning a house with a toddler roaming free inside of it is like trying to shovel the driveway in a blizzard. Competely, 100% futile.
Nikki omg about the olive oil! It's always when they're eerily quiet that something big is going down. Last time I had that feeling, DD got into the cat food and was tasting kibble . Of course the avocado I offered two minutes before had no appeal
My 13 mo DD LOVES to help me! She was on a major destructive path from 9-10mos and only wanted to pull everything off shelves or out of baskets while I tossed them right back - until I wised up and told her she couldn't put things away and then made a big deal about it when she did. Thus I taughter to put things "in" and to "get that for mommy" and now I have a super helpful kiddo who comes running to empty the dishwasher. Sure she likes to unfold clothes so I put the basket higher than she can reach and I let her have the unfolded pile and ask her to sort it for me She is obsessed wtih my vacuum and I've been thinking of getting her one of her own sooner rather than later. Cooking is a tougher so depending on her mood she's either in a back carry (if she's tired but not willing/ready to nap), sitting in her highchair with a snack, or I move her pack'n play to the middle of the kitchen and let her see me and we sing songs and I'll dance across the room rather than walk. I'm waiting for her to be a bit bigger and more focused before I look into one of those towers where she can 'help' me with food prep. Or, more often than not, I tend to plan cleaning around nap time. I'd much rather play than clean, so I keep it short with lots of play breaks!