How To Make Time For Toddler Who Demands To Play With You


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Lately, I’ve been bothered by feelings of guilt each time I am on my computer, writing and working (or playing) while Kai is on the floor playing by himself. Because suddenly, he would just ask, “Mommy, I want to play with you.” Each time he does, I’m in the middle of something.

As I’ve said in a previous post, if you want to make sure you don’t miss the time spent with your attention-demanding toddler, you have to wake up earlier than everyone else. I’ve been trying my best to do that but I have to be honest it’s hard sometimes. I can no longer write as fast as I once did and an hour of writing wouldn’t be enough.

Hours Time Clock Hourglass Egg Timer Sand

I still take breaks in between work, which is bad since that disrupts my train of thoughts. But I had to because I’d be a totally bad mom if I don’t make time for my toddler. Of course, there’s Daddy to step in but let’s face it – boy mom here – it’s going to be Mommy always. 😀

I also want to limit the screen time but I can’t get him to do that. I have to write but I can’t concentrate because a) when he’s awake, he’d always demand attention or ask me to get things like food, etc. b) I have a partner who also constantly breaks my train of thoughts by asking me every 5 minutes what’s the right word for this and that (He’s also doing home-based writing). As I write this, I realize I need my own space where I can work quietly even just for an hour. Since there’s not a room in this house where I can do that, we go back to the wake up very early part, eh?

But after genuinely turning to Google for help, I found the most sensible tip ever from Amanda of Messy Motherhood. It’s simple, doable, and I think moms like me should try it. Buy yourself a kitchen timer and let that be the thing that helps you make time for your attention-seeking kid.

Amanda writes that you need to set a timer for things you do. She tells her kid that once the timer goes off, that’s the time that Mommy will play. And at Kai’s age, I’m pretty confident that he’ll understand if I try to tell him something or get him to do something.

If you’re going to use this tip, make sure that you really do what you say. Stop everything you do, finished or unfinished, once the timer goes off. This way, your child sees that he or she matters and you’re keeping your word, Amanda, who is a child mental health counselor, said.

More importantly, if you’re already playing with your child, give him or her your full attention. No multi-tasking, no checking of messages on phone, etc. Spend the playtime well.

I find this idea to be great and I’ll be trying out and see how it goes. Now… I have to get myself a kitchen timer.

[Featured Image by nicolas will/Flickr]


  1. I have momma, you spoke right to my heart. I have a sweet little boy who is constantly asking me to play while I try to multi task. This is a great suggestion. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I just wrote a post about this in the Pro mom bloggers facebook group yesterday and complained. Working from home with a toddler feels impossible sometimes

  3. The same feelings, I always feel guilty towards my baby because he wants me to play with him all the times and I sometimes need to use my computer or phone.
    So, I decided not to use the phone in front of him (just for important calls) and postpone all the work to the nap time or the the time he be with his father and the night time.

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