5 Ways To Entertain Your Child When You'd Rather Be Sleeping

by Noa Arias
Originally Published: 

We’ve all been there – maybe you had a little too much fun on Saturday night, or maybe you woke up with a cold and you just don’t feel like entertaining a small child until you have lazed about for a good 10 hours. In my case, I am expecting baby number two and I barely have enough energy to shower, much less run after my very active 15-month-old. In a perfect world I would plop my daughter in front of the TV, but she won’t sit still for such “activities” at this age.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I’ve come up with some creatively lazy ways to entertain even the most active of toddlers. The best part is that, when we jazz up the activity names a bit, it doesn’t even sound like bad parenting! It’s really all about marketing and whatever we need to tell ourselves to not feel terrible.

So, without further ado, here is my list of fun activities for toddlers when the bare minimum is all you can muster:

1. The Cinema Verite; Amount of time of killed: 10 minutes

Nothing keeps my daughter in bed on a Saturday morning like watching videos of herself over and over and over on my iPhone. Now that she has mastered the pause button and the swipe, I have thrown a little Elmo music into the mix. Pediatricians recommend limiting screen time for children under the age of 2, but 10 minutes (ok sometimes 30) never hurt anyone.

2. Pirate’s Treasure; Amount of time killed: 10 minutes

We spent a small fortune building a playroom in the basement that my child wants absolutely nothing to do with. But you know what she does love? Garbage. Playing with it, eating it, throwing things into it. You know what I love about garbage? It’s free! And it’s everywhere! All you need to do is take an empty tissue box and fill it with random scraps and crumpled paper. If you are too lazy to make your child a box of junk (no judging!) then you can use your purse instead. Warning: make sure that the “treasure chest” does not contain any potential choking hazards.

3. The Bird Feeder; Amount of time killed: 10 minutes

When you want to sit and enjoy your disco fries or greasy slice of pizza for just a few minutes longer, give this game a shot. Simply take a piece of bread or some type of chip and break it up into teeny, tiny pieces. Place on your child’s high chair tray and watch him or her take fooooorrrrreeeever to eat every last crumb. Repeat as necessary.

4. Playing House; Amount of time killed: 3-5 minutes

This game works really well for us because we never have time to put away the clothes from our laundry basket anyways. So, we leave it out and close our bedroom drawer and voila – instant good times! If you don’t have a full laundry basket, you can also leave your bottom clothes drawer open to achieve the same effect. Just make sure you monitor your child, from a reclining position of course, so that they don’t close their fingers in the drawer.

5. The Mary Poppins; Amount of time killed: the sky, or your wallet, is the limit!

Have you ever thought to yourself, I would pay a million dollars for just one more hour of sleep? Then this game is for you! It’s very possible, and likely, that none of the above activities will last long enough to cure your hangover so we highly recommend that you call in reinforcements. Don’t be ashamed to hire a babysitter for the morning after a big night out. Try and hire someone old, lame and unlikely to be in the same state you are on a Sunday morning so you can sleep easy and sleep it off.

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