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How To Distract Your Toddler From The iPad

Welcome to the tablet diversion tactics to try out with your toddler...

There are times when your iPad is a godsend – think plane journeys or those days when matchsticks are needed to keep your eyes open.

But if your toddler’s repeating ‘iPad iPad’ when you’d rather he do something else a little more creative, it’s time to get the distraction tactics out.

Anything messy

Paint, crayons, baking… whatever you can find. Mess is always a brilliant distraction – so have a big roll of paper to put on the floor so your toddler can run riot on that instead of the sofa.

Garden + water

If the weather’s nice, go outside with some bath toys and a bucket of water (an empty ice cream tub works fine, too) for her to play with.

Or go a bit retro by setting up the sprinkler so she can jump through it. Serious childhood nostalgia – in fact, you might as well get your own swimming costume on.

Whistle while you work

Toddlers love jobs, so ask her to get involved with whatever you need to do around the house, whether it’s dusting or picking clothes to wear for the morning.

A tip? Ask her to be your ‘helper’ instead of to ‘help’ you – new University of California research shows using the noun over the verb is more likely to convince her.

Get imaginative

One M&Ber’s daughter loves the ‘Make me an ice cream’ game where mum asks her to do just that.

They run through different flavours, sprinkles and sauces (perhaps don’t do this on an empty stomach…) before she toddles off to “make” it at her imaginary ice cream cart. If you’re excitable, she’ll be too.

Hide and seek

Exactly as it says on the tin. A scaled down version of sardines can also be good if you have other kids around – when someone’s found, the finder squashes in with them behind the curtain/under the table/in the cupboard.

A scaled down version of sardines can also be good if you have other kids around – when someone’s found, the finder squashes in with them

The iPad will be forgotten in no time.

Tickle monster

Distractions need to be active to really divert her focus, so a well-timed tickling game is ideal.

Now’s the time to call on whatever strategies you know gets her laughing, really.

Dance session

Have a toddler friendly soundtrack on your phone, so you can suddenly go into disco mode.

You need to join in (basically, lose your dancing pride) with all the ballerina twirls, lunges and arm points you can muster. Check out our round up of the best small people tracks.

Living room fort

Cushions on the floor for the drawbridge. Sheets over chairs for the castle. Dad’s T-shirts for the knight armour/princess dress. Done.

Say it’s charging

Or broken. Maybe there’ll be time for it later, darling. #101 of the white lies we all tell our children.

What are your iPad distraction strategies? Let us know on the comments board below.

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