In this age of instant technology it’s so easy to entertain our kids with the TV, iPad, iPhone and computer – when we’re busy and trying to get a million things done it’s very tempting to plonk our kids in front of a screen, knowing it will keep them quiet while we finish our jobs. I know I'm certainly guilty of it!
But with that convenience it seems we’re forgetting the simple ways to entertain and stimulate them, doing the things our parents probably did with us, and their parents did with them.
Toddlers, in particular, like nothing more than playing with the pegs while you put the washing out, or playing with the bowl and spoon while you make dinner. Turning these simple acts into a game can be a great way of entertaining them as you finish those tedious but necessary jobs you have to get done in a day. A bit of imagination can go a long way!
A favourite one for my kids is the washing sorting game, which can turn the boring job of sorting the washing into a bout of giggling that can entertain you both. Try it and see if it works for you!
Grab your pile of washing and dump it all on the bed, with your child plonked on the bed beside you. Make a pile for each family member, then ask your child to help you decide which item of clothing belongs to which person, always getting it wrong. It’s a pretty simple philosophy, but nothing is funnier to a toddler/preschooler than suggesting Daddy’s big shorts go in their pile, or Mummy’s bra belongs to Daddy. They'll find the joke funnier long after it’s lost its humour for you, but you’ll be getting the job done and seeing them have fun in the process, so it’s a win-win situation!
Toddlers like nothing more than playing with the pegs while you put the washing out, or playing with the bowl and spoon while you make dinner
When the pile is sorted you can get them to help you carry each pile to the person's room and put it away, again getting it wrong one last time.
There you go: job done, child entertained. And now you only have another 11.5 hours to fill in the day ...