Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kids (aka.Tazmanian Devils) and Boredom

My house cleaning days are the hardest.

On Wednesdays and Thursdays, I try to work in the mornings on chores around the house; getting the laundry caught up, washing the bed linens, cleaning and vacuuming bedrooms, sweeping and mopping the floors and any of the other million things that need to be done around a busy family's home. But I find that on these days, when I'm the busiest around the house, my little angel baby of a daughter takes off her sweet little wings and finds her little devil horns! It seems like every 5 minutes she's into something else! She spins through each and every room I've already cleaned, Tazmanian devil style, and proceeds to undo all the order I worked so hard to bring! It's maddening!

Like today, while putting away laundry in the back of the house, I hear, "Help! I stuck! I stuck!" It doesn't sound extremely urgent, so I go ahead and finish what I'm doing. When I do finally get back to the living room, from which she was bellowing, I discover that all the couch cushions are off the couch...I mean SECTIONAL! Replacing the cushions on a regular couch is hard enough, but replacing sectional cushions is a real task! They're all different sizes and shapes and some of them are big and cumbersome. It's seriously annoying putting it back together. I'm not sure what the whole "I'm stuck" thing was ever about, but it looks like she got unstuck on her own! UGH!

And that's just a small part of my whirlwind of a day. She pulls out every toy, goes through every drawer and pretty much gets into any and everything she's NOT supposed to get into while I'm busy cleaning (I so miss the playpen, bouncy seat, baby swing days!).

Now, I know that she's just bored and that she's also used to getting mommy's undivided attention every other hour of the day, so she's just acting out. I totally get it. I'm just not sure at this point how to handle this. She's not the kind of kid you can just set at a table with crayons and paper and ask her to color or draw. Or give her a few puzzles and books to keep her occupied.
NO WAY! The walls would become the canvas for her crayons and the puzzle pieces would all end up down the register vents! It's almost to the point where I'd like to find a sitter a couple of days a week just so I can get my cleaning done in peace (that isn't going to happen)! But I know a lot of you moms do it every day with many more kids than I have, so your advice on how to keep her out of trouble when I'm busy would be sooooo appreciated!


  1. When my oldest was about her age I began "toy training" him. I put all his toys up on a shelf where he couldn't reach them.

    I then taught him to play with one toy at a time (unless the toys went together as a set). He had to ask me for whatever toy he wanted to play with.

    When he was done playing with it, he had to give it to me to put away before he could play with another one.

    This teaches them the concept of playing with one thing at a time, and putting it away before you take out something else. Once my kids learned it, I put the toys within their reach, and they continued to put the toys away before getting out another.

    You have to look at this as a training time, because you are going to be constantly interrupted, but it's worth it.

    Once they started getting the toys on their own we had three toy pickups a day, before lunch, before dinner and before bed.

    I can't remember how old your daughter is, but it sounds like typical behavior for a two year old. At least, mine was doing stuff like that at two (and before).

    I just made him help me clean up his messes, and if he was touching stuff that he KNEW he wasn't supposed to touch, he'd get a timeout, which he did not like.

    I taught him to help me sort laundry (by teaching him his colors) and throwing it into a basket (they like that).

    Although it slowed me down, I tried to involve them in my chores. At three they can fold washcloths, or unload silverware, etc.

    I think I cleaned bathrooms and floors during their naptimes (it's been to long to remember, lol!). When they gave up naptime I told them that they didn't have to sleep but that they had to play quietly in their rooms for that hour and a half or two hours (of course, they are about four or five by then).

    Mostly I remember chasing a two year old around all day (or it felt like it anyway!).

  2. Involve her! She's two? Start teaching her to make her bed in the morning. My daughter totally surprised me by showing she could make my bed while I was in the bathroom one morning. I had just been getting into the habit of doing it each day, and she had been watching. Then she began making her bed and her brother's. It wasn't perfect, but she was so excited.

    Dishes - She can dry a few things.

    Vacuuming - Invest in a little rechargeable hand vac that she can play with all day. My kids are in charge of the battle against the dog hair.

    Laundry - Let her help you transfer things from dirty pile to washer, from washer to dryer, and from dryer to folding area. You can let her start trying to fold wash cloths and small towels.

    Basically, she may not actually do anything, but she'll be too busy to undo things for the most part.

    Hope those ideas help. When all else fails, remember that no one else has a perfect home either.

  3. I think these two other ladies had marvelous ideas! I agree with the whole involving her, because then she realizes the importance of what you and her are doing and trying to accomplish. Plus she will feel a sense of pride in doing her little part. Good luck Angie.

  4. Just don't let her dust with Pledge! This is Rachel's favorite thing to "help" with, and she includes the wood floors in her "dusting." I slipped on a spot she had polished to a shine, and almost broke my neck!

  5. Do you have a dog cage? HA HA TOTALLYYYYYY KIDDING! I just had to have something to counteract all the sensible advice. You've got some great ideas there from your friends ~ all I know is consistency is the key to anything working. Take it from someone who wasn't. The good news is she sounds totally normal. :)

  6. In one of the toy catalogs there is a little cleaning cart, get her one for Christmas and put her to work, LOL!! My boys both had a little red dirt devil sweeper and they loved to help me!


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