Being the mom to a toddler is both exciting and exhausting!
My almost 2 year old loves to stay active and I want to spend quality time with him, so it is imporant that I’m intentional with his activities.
I am thankful for the fact that I get to stay home with him every day and share each moment with him, but sometimes it can be hard coming up with toddler activities for him while still completing household tasks.
When I looked for ideas on Pinterest, many of them were projects that took a lot of supplies and preparation. But I’ve found that I can and should make the simple, every day moments count.
So instead of watching a screen during meals, we sit together and talk while we eat.
I try not to rush him while he gets dressed or takes a bath. Instead we sing, count, or make funny faces while he does these every day activities.
I also try to include him in things that I am doing around the house whenever possible. He loves being a helper!
The following 9 activities are things we do pretty much every week day while my husband is at work. I hope they give you ideas for simple ways you can spend quality time with your toddler as well.
1. We do chores together.
Of course, my toddler isn’t actually cleaning, but he loves to be my helper and is usually right beside me while I work. One of the first things my son does every morning is he pushes our laundry hamper from the bedroom to the laundry room as part of our morning routine.
If I forget about the laundry, he remembers!
While I sort and throw in a load of laundry, he keeps himself busy by investigating everything in the laundry room until I’m done. The soaps and other possible dangers are out of reach. 🙂
If I am sweeping, he likes to push his “broom” which is just the Swiffer Sweeper without a cloth on it. When I dust, he carries a clean rag and wipes it on the walls and floor.
He does do his own toddler chores too!
2. We read together.
I didn’t used to follow a specific reading schedule. We would just read at random times during the day. But I’ve found that when I am more intentional about reading, we read a lot more often.
Specifically, we read a book at breakfast, before afternoon nap, and before bedtime. His favorite book right now is Brown Bear, Brown Bear* by Eric Carle.
The library is a great way to expose toddlers to new books without having to buy new ones all the time. Going to the library reading group is a weekly activity for us.
Another way to keep toddlers excited about books is to rotate their books every few days. When I pull out a book that has been put up for a while, my son gets so excited to have a “new” book.
3. We walk around the neighborhood together.
One of my favorite ways to stay healthy is walking, and it is the perfect form of exercise as a mom. I buckle my son up in his stroller and away we go!
I love starting my day with exercise and being outdoors, and my little toddler enjoys going for the ride and seeing all of the dogs, squirrels, and cars in our neighborhood.
4. We eat meals together.
When my son was a baby, I would often use breakfast and lunch to catch up on social media.
But now that he is a toddler, I don’t pull out electronic devices. Instead, we eat at the table together. As I mentioned earlier, we read a book at breakfast, and at lunch he loves to talk to me while we eat. Our conversations are usually about the food we are eating, the color, where it came from, how many are on our plates, ect. Really exciting stuff! 😉
By the way if you are looking for ideas to feed your little one, check out the printable I made of toddler food ideas and sample meal plan. It’s super helpful and full of ideas that are perfect for toddlers!
5. We play outside.
If we don’t have anywhere to go, we often play in the backyard in the mornings. Then we go outside again after lunch and again in the evenings after I clean up from supper.
My son is so used to this routine that he will bring me my shoes and his shoes after I finish cleaning up the kitchen so that we can go outside!
While outside he plays on his Little Tikes castle slide* that is the perfect size for toddlers. Other times we will collect sticks and leaves in the yard, chase each other, and swing.
Sometimes I even get a little weeding done while he plays, although I do keep my eye on him at all times, so I don’t get a lot of weeding done at once. But that is okay!
Some days we will meet a friend at the park or go to an indoor playground if the weather isn’t nice. Anything to get out his never ending energy!
6. We sit and play on the floor together.
Last January, I made the decision to get on the floor every day and play with my son. He loves the personal attention. We usually play with his Mega Bloks*, wooden blocks, or his cars.
During this time I put my phone in the other room so that I’m not tempted to check it and start scrolling. This way he gets my undivided attention which is SO important.
At first I felt like I didn’t know how to play nor liked to play with him. But I have found that the more I do, the easier it has become. Instead of thinking about how much I don’t like to build towers or line up cars, I changed my thinking and attitude.
I try to be positive and laugh with him as much as possible. We talk about sharing and taking turns. We count and point out colors on the cars.
Part of the reason I didn’t like playing with him was I felt like I had to spend a long amount of time with him, and I would watch the clock. I thought had to spend X amount of minutes playing with him, but the truth is that he doesn’t care how long. He just wants to know I will play with him.
Now instead of watching the clock, I will build a tower or line up cars with him and then tell him I need to go do something else. He can either keep playing or come with me.
7. We watch TV.
Yes, I said it! My toddler watches television.
By the afternoon, we both need a little break, so I let him watch 15-30 minutes of television while we eat a snack. His current favorites are Fireman Sam, Daniel Tiger, Caillou, and Mister Rogers Neighborhood on Amazon Prime*.
Of course, I wouldn’t put my son in front of a television all day long, but we have chosen to let him watch a little TV each day, and I don’t feel guilty about it anymore like I used to.
8. We listen to music and sing.
My husband has always been a huge music fan and has several friends who are in Southern Gospel groups. This means that there is almost always music being played in our home and thankfully our son enjoys it!
Specifically, we sing a song before nap and bedtime after we read a book. Other times we will sing while I’m cooking supper or we are riding in the car.
9. We Count and Say Letters
My son has started recognizing numbers and letters. I will say the names of letters or numbers in books and on signs and he will often repeat me.
I incorporate counting and letters into our everyday activities.
We count toys when we are playing or sticks that we pick up when we are outside. I also spell words to him and he has fun repeating the letters as if it were a game!
I don’t plan to follow specific lessons with him until he turns 3.
These daily activities are simple things you can do with your toddler with little to no preparation, but they all add up to quality time spent with your toddler.
One of my favorite times with my toddler is right before we put him to bed because we read, sing, and talk and there is no rush. He also has my undivided attention and he loves that!
Being intentional with the time that you have with your toddler can make ALL the difference in your relationship with him or her. Instead of rushing around or just getting through every day activities like meals and chores, slow down and make the moments count!
Life can get pretty crazy as a mom to a toddler. That’s why I created the free Balanced Homemaker Workbook and Email Course. I share how to simplify cleaning, simplify meal planning, and spend quality time with your family.
Get your free copy of the Balanced Mom Workbook so that you can get the dishes done, get ahead on the laundry, simplify your meal planning and find ways to spend quality time with your kids.