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Today’s Hint: Turn Mommy (or Daddy) Getting Ready into an Activity

As a working parent, I try to maximize the time I spend with my daughter. But I also like to get out of the house and off to work in the morning at a reasonable hour.

So, I turn the time I spend getting ready in the morning into an activity my toddler and I do together, a time management strategy and baby and toddler activity that is today’s hint.

Here’s how this “Getting Ready” activity, which I’ve been doing with my daughter since she was an infant, works.

When my now 20-month-old daughter was younger and couldn’t sit on her own, I used to place her in her Fisher-Price bouncy seat and let her watch me as I went through, and explained, “the mommy’s getting ready” motions – from showering to flossing and teeth brushing. (For some great tips on how to take a shower when you have an infant, especially if you don’t have a bouncy seat, check out this helpful post from the site Rookie Moms. You also can find some helpful tips in this Apartment Therapy post).

Since my daughter has been able to sit and walk, the activity has become less me dictating what I’m doing and more of an imitating mommy game. I still narrate what we’re doing, but now we do it together.

We “floss” together (I give my daughter some floss to use, under my supervision of course) and then “brush” our teeth. (My daughter uses her Nuk toothbrush and toothpaste, or her “Mommy”-style toothbrush and my toothpaste). When I’m in the shower (I make sure we’re locked in the bathroom), my daughter plays with her toothbrush or her bath toys right outside the shower door, or I play peek-a-boo with her, wiping off the steam to say “hi.”

Then, I let my tot smell lotion and perfume as I put it on myself, and I pretend to put it on her as well, and I do a similar routine with makeup. My daughter then watches me get dressed, while she plays with my bracelet collection, my shoes or my hanging clothes. And next, we’ll move into my daughter’s room and get her dressed (despite her protests).

In addition to getting to spend some additional precious time with my daughter while also getting to work on time, I figure I’m also installing good habits in my little one, like daily flossing and teeth brushing. Plus, she’s also learning a host of words like “brush” and “floss.”

To be sure, bringing a mobile little one into the bathroom with you will only work if your bathroom is childproofed (ours is), and there certainly are some days when I need to get to work really early and my husband will have to watch our little one while I’m getting ready. In addition, there may eventually come a time when you won’t feel comfortable having your little one watch you shower.

Still, I figure my involve-my-daughter approach has saved me from the kind of take-a-very-quick-shower stress many parents describe, and most days, playing “getting ready” is how we start our day. I’m also not the only parent who does this. Over at Popsugar Moms, other parents say they bring toys into the bathroom and let their kids play while they’re in the shower, and the blogger at Little Mama Big Life says her daughter watches her get ready in the morning too.

Elsewhere, Jen, who blogs over at All Four Love, shares this clever hack in a great post on 109 hacks for parenthood: “My daughter watches me get ready in the morning. I sit her outside the bathroom door and hand her her toothbrush. She will often ‘brush her teeth’ while I do.”

What do you think of this activity idea? How do you balance getting out the door in the morning with spending time with your little one? Share your thoughts and tips below.

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