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5 Tips to Surviving a Day with Toddlers (Is it Bedtime yet???)

My name is Jess and I am a clock-watcher. What is a clock-watcher, you ask? Why, a clock-watcher is a mom who (loves her children dearly, but also) wishes time would stop standing still during the day while she drowned in swirling toddlers so it would just be bedtime already! (Was that a run-on sentence? My kids destroyed my sense of hope for the future today and I’m not sure I even know which end is up.)

I have 2 boys. They are my everything. But, they also wear me down. And I work, albeit part-time from home, which also wears me down. There’s never any time for ME [insert sad face here]. And one day I realized I had become one of them.

I had officially become a clock-watcher.


My day is filled with constant glances at the wall, stove, phone, cable box, coffee pot, microwave and my ever-coveted Apple Watch. This is especially horrendous on rainy days, sick days and basically any day from May until October when we can’t be outside after 6:00am due to heat. (Thanks, Florida!)

So, what do you do when the clock is taunting you? When you SWEAR it just laughed at you and ticked backwards 5 minutes?

Create a survival kit. I call it Moms Surviving Toddlers (MST), little boys edition.

What you’ll need:

  1. Never-Ending Patience
  2. Lots of money to buy ALL the toys and do ALL the activities


Just kidding, that’s not going to happen.


What you’ll really need:

  1. Deep breaths, an infinite supply
  2. Imagination and creativity, enough to whip up crazy ideas
  3. Stuff. [Yes, that’s vague. But, in all honesty, moms don’t have time for an ACTUAL kit to be carefully planned and created, we have toddlers! So, your house is your kit, just gather all your junk and call it a day. There’s a lot to be found!]


1. Create a Fort

My boys love adventure. We can’t always go on a real adventure, so we use blankets and pillows to create tunnels, caves and tents. Be sure to make it SUPER elaborate! Reality: This usually gets ripped down by the little one in record time. Big brother meltdown. End of forts.

2. Dancing

This one is super simple and a hit in our house. Use whatever music playing options you’ve got (iPhone, iPad, radio, boombox with CDs…) and throw a big ol’ dance party! Don’t forget the importance of having complete control over the music. Reality: Wheels on the Bus will come on your Pandora kids station and when it’s over, your 2 ½ year old will DEMAND that you play it again. You can’t. Sorry, son, you have to listen to this commercial and then wait to see what comes next. Meltdown. End of dance party.

3. Chores

I know you laughed reading that subtitle. The reality is, some kids reallllllllly like helping mommy. And I often forget that and as I’m stressing about getting laundry done while my children quite literally hang on my legs. Grab the laundry baskets boys, we need to give our clothes a bath! Reality: The kids will dump the clothes on the floor at the furthest point in the house from the washing machine and then fight with each other about who gets to drag mommy’s giant basket (because, who has time to do laundry?) from her room to the laundry room. Obviously this is NOT a shared task even though your combined weight is still less than this basket with clothes from last month. Meltdown. End of chores.

4. Bath time

This seems a little counter-intuitive if you are reading this at, say, 9:00am. However, most kids love swimming. Why not turn the tub into a pool? Put on your poncho and fill the tub. Or, throw them in the shower, shut the door and paint your toes while they run around in the “rain!” Reality: don’t bank on getting a DIY pedicure in. Within the first 3 minutes someone will probably dump water on someone else’s head, when they absolutely HATE water today. Meltdown. End of shower sanity. 

5. Arts & Crafts

Drawing, stickers, painting, play-doh, or shaving cream. We invested a whopping $5 on a clear plastic shower curtain liner and drape it across the kitchen table for art projects. It wipes clean almost instantly no matter what the medium and is reusable! We also utilize Husband’s old t-shirts for smocks, with a handy-dandy hair tie to bunch and gather excess fabric in the back. Mess-free fun for toddlers and older kids! Be sure to whip out multiple options. Reality: Kids get bored with one “project” after approximately 2 minutes 47 seconds, so you’ll need to have back up. Also, if you’re like me, your inner OCD will be screaming as you watch the wrong lids get put on markers and the play-doh go from a beautiful rainbow of options to one giant brown-ish ball. Mommy meltdown. End of arts and crafts.


Okay, after all these ideas, it MUST be dinner-time, right? Wrong. It’s 11:17am. But hey, now you can do lunch, nap and then its only a short 3 hours until daddy gets home!

You can make it!

What are some things you do with the kids to pass the time when stuck indoors?

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One Response to 5 Tips to Surviving a Day with Toddlers (Is it Bedtime yet???)

  1. Katherine Norman March 23, 2017 at 12:05 pm #

    This was hilarious! I loved it! “Reality: This usually gets ripped down by the little one in record time. Big brother meltdown. End of forts.” So true!

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