Getting work done with a toddler around

Watch Video: Getting work done with a toddler around by Barbara Olinger, MSW, ...
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Getting work done with a toddler around

Children can have a difficult time tolerating it when we have to make a phonecall, balance our checkbook, or the multitude of tasks that we need to take our attention from them. We're faced with a whining, demanding child and we can get frustrated and are just pleading with them. Please, I just need to do one thing. Something that can help with this dynamic is before you do that activity make sure your child's mommy or daddy cup is full. And by this I mean, you spend five or 10 minutes in special time with your child, filling that mommy or daddy cup. This allows the child often being able to tolerate having our attention away from them. We can say, I have to make a phonecall but before I do, let's play together. And then you can set up an activity that they can do while you're doing your task. Often setting up an office or having art supplies right next to you can be really fun for children and give you a few extra minutes of focus.

Watch Video: Getting work done with a toddler around by Barbara Olinger, MSW, ...


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Barbara Olinger, MSW

Family Consultant

Barbara Olinger has her Masters in Social Work and has worked with children and families in both educational and therapeutic settings for over 35 years. This has included being a Child and Family Therapist, the Supervising Clinician in an outpatient mental health clinic, a co-founder of a co-operative preschool, and Director of Family Development at the YWCA Santa Monica / Westside. In her current private practice, Barbara focuses on parent education and support for parents of children ages 1-10 years old and preschool teacher training. She offers on-going groups, individual/couples sessions, a monthly Dads Group, workshops on a variety of parenting topics, and phone consultations. Barbara has two sons, 29 and 26 years old.

The roots of healthy development begins with having our needs met. This is a requirement for growth: to separate, to feel confident physically, emotionally and socially, to gain a healthy sense of self, to be able to become compassionate. When our needs are supported, we develop from a foundation of trust- in our relationships and in our exploration of the world.

Strong families are built on a foundation in which development is understood and celebrated, mistakes are allowed, feelings are validated and connecting with others is emphasized. Parents can set limits with behavior while supporting needs in a way which promotes learning and self-esteem.

During this whole parenting journey, it is crucial to be conscious of our own needs and to take care of ourselves. Sharing our fears and anxieties about parenting with others can help us realize we all feel vulnerable at times and this can provide a space for growth and connection. Every parent need support!

Barbara’s parenting book “Growing From the Roots” and two DVDs (“Growing From the Roots” and “Welcoming Your Second Child”) are available through

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