Ha. I don't think this is realistic for anybody! At our house, there are lots of days my husband only sees my toddler for 5 minutes in the morning before he rushes out for school and work. (Don't worry, they make up for it by being inseparable on the weekends.) And there are definitely times when I feel like I NEED to spend a few minutes bonding with my toddler - so we can get back on each other's good side after a rough morning.
Here are my short, quick, easy go-to ideas for spending quality time with your toddler. The point is to put away your phone and all other distractions for the entire 5 minutes and focus simply on being with your little one.
1.Get the mail
There may not be time for a long walk, but my husband almost always runs to the mailbox with my toddler each day. Stop and examine cool bugs you find, jump over the sidewalk cracks, and give her a bouncy shoulder ride on the way back. Bonus points if you let her carry a piece of "very important" mail all by herself.
2. Read a book
And I mean really read it! Do funny voices for each character and help your toddler find the first letter of his name somewhere in there. Bonus points if the book has some sort of repeated word or phrase you two can shout every time you come across it.
3. Bedtime routine
This is one of my favorites. After your toddler has a bath, spend a few minutes talking quietly while you rub lotion on her hands and legs, comb her hair, or relieve any chapped, irritated, or rug burned skin with a little DESITIN® multi-purpose ointment (this stuff glides on clear and works really well - we use it all the time). If your child is in diapers still like ours, it's also a great time to fix any diaper rash with DESITIN® rapid relief cream (a surprisingly gentle cream) or DESITIN® maximum strength original paste (for those really bad diaper rashes).
4. Play hide and go seek
At our house, a few minutes of this game goes a loooooong way. Bonus points if it involves lots of jumping out from behind corners and ends in a huge tickle fight. Double bonus points if you pretend you can't see your toddler when they hide in plain sight like mine does every single time. ;)
(above photo by Photography Hill)
5. Make a snack together
Sit your child on the counter and make something you both love! Sneak bites in as you go, and let them do everything short of cutting with a knife. Between spreading, stacking, counting, and giving them a little tickle every time they sneak a bite, you'll have one happy toddler. (Although if your toddler spreads jam like mine does, you might have to add an extra minute or two for clean up.)
- jump on the bed (a fan favorite at our house!)
- paint nails
- make a tiny impromptu blanket fort
- color a picture
- play 'superheroes' or other favorite imaginary game
- do a puzzle or stickers
- And if you have more than 5 minutes, we love trips to the park, a ride in a car grocery cart (this one really is a labor of love for me because I think those car carts are so annoying), swimming in the summer, or using some of our local passes for the aquarium or zoo.
What are your favorite ways to spend
quality time with your toddler, short or long?
Anything you'd add to this list?