The Bathroom Basket for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

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Morning routines can be challenging, but they don't have to be! Being a mom and taking a shower can go hand-in-hand and can go smoothly. Click through to learn more about #morningroutines with toddlers and making sure you have time to get ready in the morning without your house being destroyed in the process. #motherhood #2u2 #stayathomemom

One of the struggles of being a mom is taking a shower. I know it sounds like something that should be easy to do, but it’s amazing what little ones can get into while we’re taking a quick shower! So, just how does a stay-at-home mom find time to shower and not have her house torn apart in the process? Check out my TV/screen-free ideas!


Showering with a Baby in the House

This one’s probably the easiest because babies sleep more.

  • Shower when the baby naps.
  • Move the bouncer/Rock-n-Play or whatever Baby hangs out in to the bathroom.
  • Close off the bathroom and let Baby play with toys on the bathroom floor.
  • Play “Peek-a-Boo!” to keep Baby entertained.
  • IF Baby isn’t capable of climbing out AND the water/faucet are out of reach and head bumping zone, putting Baby in a dry bathtub with toys is also said to work. We never tried it because it didn’t work well with our faucet and playing on the floor worked well.
  • Moving the play gym or activity table (great for sitters and encouraging Baby to stand!) into the bathroom helped a LOT. It was the only place they used the table, so they really enjoyed pressing all the buttons.

Showering with a Toddler Present and Awake (approx. 12-18 months)

  • The above tips worked well for me, but Sweet Pea wanted to shower with me, so she’d sit on the shower floor or stand and play with a toy in the shower. Not ideal, but it worked.
  • An activity cube also worked well. It was several toys/activities in one and only played with while in the bathroom, so it kept their interest well, up until about 3 years old. I could also them to find the first letter of their name, tell me how many beads they moved, etc. if needed to keep them occupied while I finished rinsing the conditioner out of my hair.
  • Books were another hit (and still are!) with both of my kiddos. We have a basket of books in the bathroom for them to look through while I shower or get ready for the day. We started with board books so that pages weren’t torn, but we’ve graduated to “regular” books that the kids have already read and still enjoy looking at or reading to themselves or each other.


Toddlers and Preschoolers

  • SMALL toy basket. I rotate the toys that are in the basket for them to play with while we’re in the bathroom. Duplos were a big hit, as are toy cars and other vehicles. And, when the only place they get to play with them is in the bathroom, the toys don’t grow old as quickly. Plus, these are open-ended toys, which allow for more creativity and longer play times.
  • Puzzles. Yes, it’s kind of an odd place to build a puzzle, especially the large floor puzzles, but why not? It works and it keeps them occupied and working together cooperatively. Plus, it’s something I can “help” with from the shower, by reminding them to look for the edge pieces or to match colors to see if a piece fits.
  • Their own clothes. I ask them if they can get dressed before I’m done showering (or, as they’ve gotten quicker and better at dressing themselves, before I put the conditioner in my hair). Then, when I’m out of the shower, I have dressed kiddos, which is one less thing we need to do before we leave the house.
  • Board games would work too! Check out our favorites here. Once they grow old of puzzles, we’ll use games.
  • If your bathroom design allows it, letting them take a bath while you take a shower is another option for multitasking and keeping the littles busy.
  • Activity books are another favorite of ours. Just be sure the markers are super washable or your littles are really good at not drawing on anything besides their books. Water Wow (drawing with water) and Aquadoodles eliminate this worry (pictured below).


  • Writing with shaving cream or dry erase markers on the shower door are also fun. You could write with the dry erase markers and have your little one “erase” it with his/her finger- great fine motor skills practice AND it allows you to review and practice their name, shapes, letters, etc.
  • Play dough. Why not? It’s on a flat, solid surface, in one spot, making it easy to clean up. And, if that’s the only place they play with it, play dough is interesting and fun. You can always put down a shower curtain or table cloth to define the space and make clean-up even easier.


There you have it! Many different ideas for showering and not having your little ones tear up your house in the process. My littles are 19 months apart, so I can attest to these strategies working if you’re like me and have 2 under 2. I call it our “Bathroom Basket” because I keep everything in a basket in the bathroom (except for the bigger stuff like the table or activity cube from when they were younger).


A note about containing them…

My bathroom opens up to my bedroom, so I used to put a baby gate across the doorway to keep them in the bathroom with me (stored behind the door when not in use). Now that they’re a little older (2.5 and 4), we don’t use the baby gate anymore, but I have a rule that they must stay in my room, must respond if I call their name, and must do one of the activities we agreed on before I got into the shower. That rules out jumping on my bed and pillow fights and also means I don’t have to remake my bed simply because I decided it’d been long enough since I washed my hair. 🙂

What’s our “Mommy is Taking a Shower” Routine?

Ideally, I’d get up before them and shower while they sleep. But, that doesn’t usually happen. So, it goes something like this:

  • “Kids, it’s time for me to take a shower. Let’s go to my room so that I can take a shower.”
  • (Usually met with some resistance because it means they have to stop playing)
  • “Your choices today are: ____, ___, and ____. Which activity are you going to do while I shower?”
  • (They each decide from the Bathroom Basket/Box)
  • “Okay, I’m going to take a shower. You’re going to do your activities. You need to stay in the bathroom/my room. If I call your name, you respond immediately (said if they’re not staying in the bathroom for their activity). You need to be nice to each other. Agreed?”
  • (They agree and I get in the shower).

We also close my bedroom door, even though they both can open it. This serves as a visual reminder that they’re supposed to stay in my room while I shower. And, MOST of the time, this routine works and things go smoothly without sibling squabbles and my bedding ending up all over the floor, making for a nice dog bed (ugh!). But, I do take the time to state the expectations each time I take a shower. And, I state them as positives, so the kids hear what they need to do, instead of what not to do (i.e., “Be nice to each other” instead of “No hitting or fighting.”).


Now that you know a little about our morning routine and about what’s in my bathroom, your turn to share…

What’s in your Bathroom Basket? How do you keep your little ones occupied while you shower?

Do you find yourself struggling to get out of the house on time in the mornings? Does getting ready for your day stress you out? Try these ideas for occupying #babies #toddlers and #preschoolers while you shower or get ready for your day. #motherhood #morningroutine #toddlerroutine #screenfree   "Help! My kids are destroying my house while I shower!" and "But, I don't have time to shower" are things we've all vented about or heard other moms complain about. So, just how can we take a shower or get ready for our day without having a giant kid-made mess to clean up AND without using Netflix? #motherhood #toddlerroutines #2u2 #stayathomemom