Any mother of a toddler knows it’s easier to pin down a group of octopuses doing the Makarena than make a newly mobile child stay still. These hacks may help. By Lisa Witepski
They wriggle, they squirm, they crawl and they worm. Whether you’re changing a nappy or trying to cram a spoonful of cereal into an impatient mouth, the struggle for any parent longing for a bit of stillness is real. Try these hands-on techniques to keep your little one safe when you’re having breakfast, or need both your hands to complete a task.
Make a busy bag
In an ideal world, you’d be able to enjoy your eggs benedict without having to get up 10 times to capture a wayward crawler. In the real world, the best way to prevent these walkabouts is by making a busy bag that can absorb attention: toys that beep, shiny things, crayons or board books. That should buy you a few minutes!
Wear your baby
The benefits of baby wearing are well documented. Carrying your little one not only strengthens your bond, but can even help promote early language development. What no one points out, though, is wearing your baby can also help you get your chores done. After all, it’s so much easier to hang washing or make a bed when you have two hands.
That heart-stopping moment when it looks like your baby is about to roll off the compactum – all because you took a moment to unfold the nappy – can be prevented with a little distraction. A hanging mobile above the change station works wonders, but so does playing peekaboo, blowing tummy raspberries and singing. Bonus tip: pass baby something to keep those little hands busy – like a teddy or a rattle – to prevent flailing arms from making contact with whatever’s inside the nappy.
Products like trolley covers are a lifesaver. Not only do they keep your baby secure while you’re shopping, they’re also a great germ guard and, by hanging a few of baby’s favourite toys from the straps, you can count on enough distraction to get your shopping done relatively quickly.
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.