Not only do we have to get our children ready to face the world each day, but we also want to look half decent before stepping out into society.
If anyone has ever told you that getting ready with an active infant or toddler is easy, then they obviously don’t have any kids of their own.
There have been times where I’ve left the house with a wrinkled shirt, mismatched socks, a tired face, and unbrushed teeth (ew, I know). So this finally led me to reaching out to other parents with the one simple question: What is your child doing while you get ready for the day?
I did a simple survey on Instagram through my Insta-stories and I got some insight into the lives of other parents like myself. I wanted to find REAL answers that you and I could put into practice. After asking them to get personal and give me insight into what they have their child do as they get ready, I gathered my personal experience and research, along with the helpful tips of these wonderful parents, and summarized the information to help you find out what methods and products you should be investing in so that YOU have ample time and space to get ready for the day.
Below are the responses I received from parents who answered my question:
What is your child doing while you get ready for the day?
While I get ready for the day, my child is…
in his/her Pack n’ Play/playpen/crib playing with toys
in the bathroom with me reading a book or playing with my makeup brushes
watching TV or playing in the bouncer
playing on a play mat
playing with older siblings
watching me like a creeper (my favorite)
in his/her jumperoo
roaming around the bathroom (safely) going through mom and dad’s things
As you can see from the variety of answers, no one parent does the SAME thing all the time. Even better, there were quite a few parents who change things up; sometimes their child is in the bathroom playing with a toy, other times they are busy reading a book or playing with an older sibling. The key here is to make sure your child is safe. An added bonus if your child is busy with their OWN things (I’m guilty of allowing my daughter to go through my bathroom cabinets and drawers-a horrible mess to clean afterwards). If they’re interested in your stuff instead, that’s an expected part of their development and you can use that to your advantage (an example here would be giving them your makeup brushes to play with as you get ready-just make sure they aren’t biting the bristles off).
Below are FIVE ideas on what you can do to keep your infant or toddler busy and happy as you get ready for the day. All of the ideas you see are tried and true tips from busy parents such as yourself.
1- Have a designated book basket
Have a basket of 2-3 books for your child in the bathroom or wherever you get ready. Books with textures and flaps work great to keep the kiddos engaged in reading. Make sure you alternate the books every now and then to ensure your infant or toddler is interested in the selections.
2 – Provide a practical life activity in your “get ready” space
Is your child currently into putting items in a bowl or box and then dumping it out? Have a bowl or box with colorful balls in an area where you get ready. You could also use blocks, kitchen utensils, and safe ‘around the house’ items in the box/bowl.
Is your child interested in digging through a bag or box of goodies? Have an old purse or box filled with some of your child’s sensory toys somewhere accessible to the child in your get ready space. They will have fun digging in the bag and exploring the sensory items. Take a look at these soft sensory toys that you can include here.
3 – Have your child play in a play yard or bouncer nearby
If you really need more time to get ready or you’d like to iron an outfit but fear your child will knock the iron over, have a play yard setup nearby with your child’s favorite toys.
A bouncer works great as well! Many parents talked about how they utilize a bouncer while they are getting ready. I did the same with my daughter until she got too big to sit in it (around 10 months). Here is a bouncer that works great in a bathroom setting. You don’t need an overcomplicated one with too many bells and whistles.
4 – Get ready while they sleep
As some parents have suggested (and I’ve done this myself from time to time), choose your infant or toddler’s nap time as a time to get a shower in or quality self-care time. Brush your teeth, get your moisturizer on, feel good about getting ready without having to watch your child as you prepare yourself for the day.
5 – Include your child in your rituals for getting ready
This one takes a bit more patience, but is great quality time and a learning opportunity.
-Get your toddler to brush their teeth while you brush yours. Have them practice the action of holding their toothbrushes as you apply toothpaste.
-Have a child-size brush nearby and have your child practice brushing his or her hair while you work on your hair. The same goes for wiping ones face with a wash cloth-get them to wipe their face as well.
-I know this is TMI, but if you’re sitting on the toilet trying to get your business done, hand them toilet paper pieces and ask them to hand it back to you. Say “thank you” every time they give you a piece.
Finding ways to keep your toddler safe and busy as you get ready are essential to having your morning ritual flow smoothly.