Busy toddler? Tell me about it...

Well I guess now is a better time than any to talk about distracting the kiddos so you can get a workout in (and keep your sanity). We are now limited to working out at home and getting a bit more creative with our kids. I’m here to give you some ideas, and walk you through what my routine looks like.

My days start a bit slower now that I’m on maternity leave and can’t hit up a workout class outside of my home. I start with a coffee and feed the babe and toddler. If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know that I’m already in my workout gear ready to go first thing. I try to plan my workout during the baby’s first nap, although it doesn’t always work out perfectly. This usually happens at least an hour after the toddler’s breakfast, which is a need be because snacks are key for distraction. I don’t want her to be starving, but definitely ready for her morning snack. The snack I choose for distraction purposes is usually one that will take longer to eat and won’t make a horrible mess. A few examples include, an apple, Cheerios, granola bites or a muffin tin filled with a variety of colorful snacks to choose from. I usually let her have a special treat like fruit snacks or a yogurt drink that she doesn’t get often. This is obviously not going to last more than 10 minutes because I mean...toddler haha, so you have to have a variety of options for them in your workout space.

For the toddler (mine is almost 3 years old):

• I like to get stickers, and cheap craft kits from the dollar store that she doesn’t need my help to assemble. My little one is in a huge imaginative play phase, so these forms of distractions occupy the most time for her. One of the best distractions for her is actually rainbow colored popsicle sticks that she can line up, stack or arrange into colors. She seems to be a little type A; not sure if she gets it from her ICU nurse momma or engineer father haha.

• I will bring her water or special marker coloring sets as well, but they seem to last about 2 minutes as far as distraction goes.


• Another fun one is to use painters tape and tape a road on the floor for them to drive their toys on.

• Blocks are also great to have set out, as she will not only build with them but also get creative pretending they’re something else.


• Halle is just starting to enjoy puzzles, so I will bring a few down with us. They don’t always last long and she often asks me to help, which isn’t ideal. We do have a Melissa and Doug puzzle set that has lower case and upper case letters with a corresponding picture that will occupy about 10 minutes of her time if I’m lucky.


• If your child is into imaginative play, I 100% recommend a @nuggetcomfort or some form of equivalent. There are a few Canadian companies coming out with their own versions now: @stylizednest, @chewchewbabyroo. Halle is obsessed and it is worth every penny! She builds forts, uses it as a slide down the stairs, loves it even just as a couch and her current favorite is playing ice cream store. She is more likely to stay put if we build a Fort or teepee with the nugget, cover it with a blanket and she gets to use a flashlight or lamp to play inside.





• Another great distraction is playing grocery store. I give Halle a grocery list (no she can’t read, but wants it to be realistic) and set up her play food around the room. She collects it in her back pack and pretends to take it home and cook.


• The back pack is popular right now around here, so I will also ask her to retrieve different toys I know that she has in the area and she will seek and find and fill her pack up.


• She is really into using a flashlight right now so I will also turn out the lights and let her pretend she is on a scavenger hunt (only do this if your workout space is light enough that it is safe to workout!).


• Recently, she has attached more to some of her stuffed animals and baby dolls. I will bring them all downstairs with us with blankets and some of her old clothing that is too small. She loves dressing them and putting them to bed.


• A large Tupperware, or small bin filled with a little bit of water is a good option if you are not in a carpeted area. She likes to use her beach and bath toys in it. I usually set it up on 2-3 towels to avoid too big of a mess.


• I haven’t tried this one yet, but I do plan to get a felt tree for the wall that she can decorate and some boxes and paper so that she can “wrap presents”.


• Last but not least...the iPad or tablet. I know, I know, not ideal but it works the best. I always set up some form of stations for her, but always have the iPad on hand if she is not having it.

I do have to say that if I am going to work out for more than an hour, I do so on a day I know my husband is home to help. The kids do like to be down with me while I workout, but definitely will not last more than an hour. Also, take advantage of a nap! If your child naps...don’t stress yourself out trying to entertain them, and just schedule your workout for that time.

For the baby:

• Lainey is just about 5 months, and the easiest age to entertain. She will stay in the jolly jumper for an hour if I let her haha. I will also bring down her tummy time mat and some sensory toys that she likes. Lastly, the circle of neglect will distract her for at least 15 minutes (you know, the standing activity centers). She loves watching her older sister play...like I said, she’s not the difficult one.

If I’m on the treadmill, I make sure to have the safety key close as I do pull it if I’m worried Halle is coming too close. She has been around the treadmill enough now that she knows not to come too close while it’s running, but I still do not trust her 100%. I never allow her to play behind me where I cannot see her. No matter how many distractions I have present, there are times that I have to jump off and on the treadmill a few times to help Halle with something or switch Lainey to a different activity. It isn’t always the most enjoyable workout, but I never regret it. I always feel 10 times better after I’m done, and love that the girls see my dedication and hard work.

Keep me posted if any of these worked for you, or if you come up with any I should add to my list. We’re in this together ladies!

All my love,

Jen


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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am beyond excited to share this journey with you all. I appreciate any and all feedback. Let me know content wise what you would like to see more or less of. I am here to support, inform, empower and learn with you. Thanks again for joining me in this beautiful chaos that is motherhood, working, and fitness with balance; momma.runs.

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