18th April 2016

3 games to play with your toddler when you really really need a minute to yourself

Your toddler will be amazed at how wholeheartedly you are playing the game of doctors, Heidi Scrimgeour shares how only you will know you’re really just resting your eyes.

You’re itching to check Twitter. You’re desperate for five precious minutes of shut-eye to get you through the tea / bath / bed routine ahead. There’s a secret stash of chocolate in the fridge and you’ve got to scoff it this very second without the toddler sniffing you out. You really, really need to pee and want to do so without an audience or running commentary just this once.

Whatever the details, there are moments in motherhood when you just really, really need a few minutes to yourself. Here’s how to claw them back – without your toddler sussing that you’re short-changing her for a sec whilst pretending to be utterly present in absorbing, imaginative play.

Hide & Seek

This is dicey and best played in such a way that you can still see your toddler at all times, just in case her resourcefulness leads her to leave the house and go and hide at the bottom of the garden. You don’t want to be explaining to the kindly constable who calls to help you find your missing tot that you were stuffing your face with Cadbury’s while she was climbing a tree in next door’s garden.


It’s fail safe. My two year old daughter adores this game as did her brothers before her. She’s the Doctor, of course. I even invested in a doctors bag so that I could enjoy a little lie down while we play this educational game every afternoon before I have to start thinking about what to make for tea.

Froze You!

I’m not entirely sure of the origins of this game but some time around when my daughter first clapped eyes on Anna, Elsa, Olaf and the hunky one whose name I can never recall, she momentarily believed that she, too, had the power to freeze people.

Obviously we played along, not realising that what began as an adorable one year old’s sweet naivety would turn into a game she’d play whenever she wanted to put a stop to whatever we did or said. Anyway, point is I sometimes let her ‘freeze’ me for several minutes at a time, and always try to make sure I happen to be close to the sofa with a cup of tea in close proximity at the very same second. The only drawback is that she sometimes gets a bit disgruntled when I collapse on the sofa and start pleading with her to freeze me.

If you get really desperate there’s always sleeping lions too, but be warned. I once played this when my lads were toddlers and woke up to find them re-decorating the living room with permanent marker…

@mushmums @heidiscrim

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