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What to Do When You Have a Baby + Toddler During Covid-19 (Or Anytime, Really)

+ Take your time. Since you don’t have to go anywhere or be anywhere, you get to truly live in the moment. Let your toddler lead the way and don’t worry if it takes 30 minutes to get dressed bc you stopped to greet every stuffed animal one by one. In fact, the longer each task takes, the more quickly the day will pass. + Know everyone is going to cry at some point. (Maybe even all at the same time!) It’s okay. We aren’t all happy all the time and it’s healthy to feel and experience a range of emotions as we learn and grow together. + Bake together. Most toddlers love it and it’s an easy thing to do with baby in the wrap. Plus, there are cookies at the end! (Totally fine to give your toddler one and hoard the rest for yourself.) Here are a few of our favorite recipes:

Healthier banana bread

No-bake chocolate oat cookies

NYT chocolate chip cookie recipe

Dairy-free oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

+ Do anything with water. Baths. Dish-washing. Watering flowers. Giving animal figurines “showers” in the sink. If you can handle a bit of splashing, water has the potential to provide hours and hours of entertainment. + Engage with your toddler when you’re busy with the baby. Toddlers mostly just want your attention—so even if you can’t actively build towers with them while you’re feeding the baby, talk to them about what they’re building. Heck, spend the whole feeding session recapping your morning together or talking about what you’re going to to next and they’ll be totally intrigued. + Take a break. If at all possible, hand both children off to your partner for 5 minutes, or 15 minutes or a whole hour(!) while you shower, nap or eat a meal in peace. Even a small amount of time alone is a game-changer. + Prioritize sleep. You probably won’t be getting much, but you’ll be getting more if you don’t kill 30 minutes scrolling on your phone before bed when you could be sleeping. Consume as much media as you need to stay informed and connected, then turn out the light (or off your phone) and go to sleep. And if both kids every happen to nap simultaneously, by all means leave the dishes in the sink and close your eyes. + Get your toddler a wrap and a doll (you knew we had to say it!) so they can take care of their baby just like you. They’ll be obsessed. Trust me. + Tell your toddler what you’re up to. “I’m going to go change the baby and then I’ll be right back to read you a book.” The same way we can’t stand when someone is looking at their phone instead of you but you don’t know what they’re looking at (do you know what I’m talking about? 😜) they’ll be so much more cooperative if they just know the plan. + Say yes as much as you can. It’s more fun to say and to hear, so if you find yourself saying no, ask yourself if you could say yes instead. (You’ll need to say no sometimes of course—a toddler should only consume so many cookies—but this will help keep you from turning into a grinch.)

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