Let’s say you’ve got an email that you really need to crank out from home, and pronto. So, you whip out your laptop to get started, and that’s when you spot the menacing eyes of a toddler from across the room. What do you do? Is it even possible to use a mobile device once a toddler has it in their greedy little sights? For this week’s tip, we’ll explore your options.
First off, you need to understand the psychology of a toddler. It’s pretty simple really: Everything is mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Okay, now that you grasp this basic, indisputable fact, you understand why simply telling a toddler, “No. I’m using this laptop right now for work,” doesn’t work. It never works. In fact, telling a toddler “no” only has the opposite effect and makes them want your device even more.
Therefore, you may have to think outside the box when it comes to getting any work done on your device with a toddler nearby. We at Digital Seattle are here to help, and we’ve got four field-tested ideas that we want to pass on to you. The odds may seem insurmountable, but you’ve got this.
Create a Diversion
When times get trying, turn on the television or pop in a movie. This move should serve as an adequate distraction. When selecting a program, it’s important to pick a show that has plenty of color, loud noises, and fast edits. The Powerpuff Girls, My Little Pony, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers were all made for moments like these. Hi-yah!
The Ol’ Switcheroo
Once a toddler has their mind made up that your laptop is really theirs, there’s little you can do to turn them on to anything else. Sometimes, even a peace offering of C-A-N-D-Y doesn’t do the trick. When you can’t divert a toddler’s attention, you can always try the ol’ switcheroo. Do this by hiding the laptop behind something and then emerging with an object that kind of looks like your laptop (like the laptop case or bag, a phone or tablet, or perhaps an old laptop that you’ve kept around for such an occasion as this). Then, hand them the “laptop” and hold your breath. If you’re lucky, they’ll fall for it and scurry off to the next room, all the while thinking that they got the best of you. But you know better and can now wrap up your email in peace.
If you’re able to tune out chaos and be productive with wailing and gnashing of teeth going on within earshot, then you can always complete your work by escaping to the bathroom with your laptop in tow and locking the door behind you. Although, if you try this strategy, make sure to lay a towel against the bottom of the door in order to prevent the appearance of tiny fingers, as well as to muffle the yelling.
Babysitters for the Win!
How valuable or time-sensitive is this email that you need to complete? If it’s worth more than what it cost to pay for an hour’s worth of babysitting, then go down your contact list and make some desperate phone calls (assuming you’re able to actually use your phone with a screaming toddler nearby). If nobody is available, then try opening the window and shooting an emergency flare into the night’s sky. Whoever is brave enough to answer a call of distress like this, surely has what it takes to watch a toddler.
Unfortunately, none of these tactics are guaranteed to work. To really get anything done using your laptop, the only surefire strategy is to wait. If they’re awake and active, then try playing with them and expending all of their crazy toddler energy so they’ll go to bed sooner. Then, after you’ve changed their diapers, put on their jammy jams, brushed their teeth, read them a story, and tucked them in for the night, you should now, finally, be able to wrap up that email without any interruptions.
Bonus tip: Coffee helps.