Game Show Skills Acquired by Parents of Toddlers

Richard-OBrien-Crystal-MazeParents of toddlers: without realising it, you have been receiving crack training to compete in, and win, a variety of game and panel shows.

Here are your newly acquired game show strengths. Go forth and make your fortunes/win a fridge freezer.

1. The Generation Game

You may not be aware that tidying up toddlers’ toys provides perfect training for The Generation Game‘s conveyor belt. Every night is essentially the conveyor belt, as you desperately try to recall what toys there should be in order to hunt them down and return them to their proper place: ‘Ball…Peppa Pig figures…Four tea cups…A spatula…Four spoons…A frying pan…A kettle…CUDDLY TOY…A stethoscope…A thermometer…A reflex hammer….Six dinosaurs…A bus…CUDDLY TOY…Baby doll…Lego, so much Lego…Two wands…Dominoes…Princess Holly…Nanny Plum…Gaston the ladybird…WHERE’S GASTON THE LADYBIRD??’ Your prize for remembering all the toys on the conveyor belt of mess is not getting a George Pig figure up your arse when you sit on your sofa.

2. The Crystal Maze

The Crystal Maze poses no challenge to you, the parents of toddlers. Why, just this morning, you negotiated an obstacle course of Lego, walked the balance beam of the back of the sofa, and stood precariously on one foot on a shelf in order to reach a small plastic pig that was somehow on top of the DVD tower. Throughout this challenge, you were receiving massively unhelpful ‘assistance’ screamed at you by your teammates/toddlers. Essentially, this is The Crystal Maze: completing ridiculous physical challenges to obtain a pointless object, while people you hold fully responsible for your ordeal yell ‘help’ at you.

3. Call My Bluff

This is most of your day when dealing with toddlers: only one thing in every three you tell them is actually true, and the question is whether they can work out which it is.

4. Knightmare

Parents of toddlers spend much of their time receiving incomprehensible instructions from excitable children, the following of which tends to achieve very little except for a likely collision with some kind of obstacle. This is basically the format of Knightmare. Parents of toddlers: you are ready.

5. Mastermind

Extensive knowledge of an obscure and ridiculous topic? Yes, toddler parents, you have that covered. Not by your own free will, mind you, but covered nonetheless.
‘What is your specialist subject?’
‘Speak up, please.’
‘Nanny Plum’s various magic spells for creating far too much jelly, custard, ice cream and other squidgy desserts.’
You will, however, be confused by ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’. The concept of finishing a sentence (or task, or cup of tea) will not be one you are able to grasp.

6. Give Us a Clue

Deciphering the meaning of some frantic hand gestures and a bit of foot stamping, unaccompanied by any actual words? An average Tuesday for the toddler parent, and preparation for a Give Us a Clue winning streak.

7. Gladiators

Nobody is better than a parent of toddlers at successfully crossing a space while avoiding missiles being pelted at their head. Furthermore, running the gauntlet is actually the accepted method for parents to successfully make it from the living room to the kitchen. Wolf and Jet would have been eating the dust of toddler parents.

8. Scrapheap Challenge

As a toddler parent, you complete a miniature version of this contest daily, being expected to build a working toy from the gathered scraps of toy presented by your toddler.

9. I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue

Essentially, this game involves performing a variety of silly tasks for the amusement of the gathered audience, while frankly not having a clue what’s going on. Toddler parents, you are so adept at this game, you can probably not have a clue in your sleep.

10. University Challenge

Strangely, spending time with toddlers is not unlike competing on University Challenge. You will be incessantly asked questions you don’t know the answer to, mostly put to you in a rude and mocking tone. These will be followed by additional bonus questions you also don’t know the answers to, delivered even more rudely than before. Admittedly, you have probably not been equipped to actually win University Challenge, but you would certainly be able to withstand Jeremy Paxman without crying.


  1. Jasmine says:

    Bloody love it! Definitely feels like you are playing all those at the same time, whilst hoovering and washing up and cooking dinner.


  2. ShoeboxofM says:

    I’m glad Knightmare made an appearance. It’s very apt for when asking children to find something:

    Where’s my elephant?
    You’re in a room. The elephant is on the floor by the TV.
    Walk forward two steps. Side step to your right. The other right.
    Oh! You’ve fallen in a pit.


  3. Haha, this is brilliant and so very true! I never thought of parenting as being good preparation for various game shows before but you’re absolutely right. The Generation Game is repeated every single night in our house too and I can definitely relate to feeling like I’m on Knightmare at times! 🙂

  4. So so funny and yet so so true! Having kids feels exactly like we’re on training to be superhero or a fighter perhaps. I always go through a crystal maze every time I wake up my kids in the morning, it’s challenging trying to avoid stepping on those scattered toys and get hurt, lol. #coolmumclub

  5. Georgie Moon says:

    I loved this. Chuckling to myself! Although my children are all grown up now, I can totally relate to this when I look after my grandchildren. Especially Give Us A Clue and Call My Bluff!
    PS -I love love love this font!

  6. Oh you’ve hit the nail on the head again Silly one! The generation game is so familiar here! And I used to love the Crystal Maze with a passion. Hmm looking at the comments I think I need to acquaint myself with Knightmare though…it also sounds familiar here and fun!! #familyfun

  7. MMT says:

    If I am on the Crystal Maze, can I bang on the door screaming ‘Get me out!’.
    Ha ha – this is a classic post! Brill! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

  8. You made me laugh so hard I woke my dog. Favourite bit was definitely mastermind, my specialist subject would have to be Super Smash Bros characters (all my son goes on about). Loved the I’ve started so I’ll finish part very true. TY for linking up to #FamilyFun ?

  9. Mim says:

    Hee hee I’ve had many a small toy NEARLY up my bum – I get it! Loving the Wolf & Jet references, oh what happy memories of childhood telly. We have a lot of bluff calling in our house too x #TheList

  10. Anne Sanderson says:

    Another fantastic blog! This is so funny, and brought back many memories of toddler rearing. Brilliant writing, you must be out and out winner of the BIB awards!

  11. Kirsty says:

    I totally play gladiators at home all the time…dodging all sorts of flying toys and bricks…plus being jumped on or tripped up #picknmix

  12. Michelle says:

    I never thought of parenting toddlers in that way before but when I look back on my boys’ toddler years, it makes perfect sense, LOL! #anythinggoes

  13. Lady Nym says:


    I also feel well equipped for QI. I am constantly asked questions and when I give a perfectly reasonable and predictable response there is a loud noise to let me know I was wrong and that is not, in fact, the answer. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking because I love QI.


  14. The Pramshed says:

    This is brilliant, I frequently take part in The Generation Game and The Crystal Maze with my 10 month old, and all of her toys that end up scattered throughout the house. Also I haven’t a clue too, when she is saying “mummamummamumma” at me, I have no idea what she wants – it’s usually food or a nap. Your post has also bought back memories of all the old TV programmes too, I used to love watching Nightmare. Thank you so much for joining us at #fortheloveofBLOG this week, we hope you come back next week. Claire x

  15. Yes indeed – little did we know that this parenting business is actually training us to be game show experts! That stinkin lego is the worst of the worst though! Thanks so much for linking up with #bloggerclubuk

  16. This was such fun to read and I am sure that every parent can relate to it all! I love how you have thought of Game Shows that compare with being a parent of young children. Fab! 🙂

  17. Kerry-Ann says:

    I had no idea that having children was setting me up for fame and fortune? I would add ‘Weakest Link’ to this, again, not necessarily because I’ll win but when you have lived through the scowls and tantrums of an off-spring, going a few rounds with Anne Robinson sounds like a piece of cake? x PasstheSauce

  18. brilliant! give us a clue – inspired – that carries on through to the teen years trust me – lots of hand gestures, eyebrow raising and I’m meant to know exactly what they are peeved about! usually anything that Ive asked them to do! Very entertaining post #passthesauce

  19. I love it! I am now incredibly excited by the idea of parents lined up in the Gladiators arena with loads of feral toddlers running about with giant cotton buds and snarling with attitude at the camera! I could win this game! I know I could!!
    Brilliant post as always. Thank you for hosting #passthesauce x

  20. Saffy says:

    Hahah – I find our gladiator style assault course is the bedroom floor, the prizes being – escaping from the room, uninjured is top prize, escaping from room with grave lego injury is second, and third is escaping from room with grave lego injury but managing not to wake up child with loud cursing…obviously a woken child is immediate disqualification. In our house drugs are also allowed (wine) to improve performance but it is a slippery slope. #passthesauce

  21. Oh, this is brilliant!! And all the time I spend comparing my life to various scenarios, I’m almost angry with myself for never comparing it to gameshows before!! And a trip down memory lane too-Knightmare, Crystal Maze, The Generation game!! I definitely do most of these every day! I especially loved Call My Bluff…Made me chuckle so hard!! Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink

  22. Lucy says:

    Haha brilliant! I especially loved the bit about being confused over ‘I’ve started so I’ll finish’. This really made me chuckle! #passthesauce

  23. You are funny but honest. Number Two and Three are so true. The things we say to them is crazy. Everytime my daughter would get on my nerves I would tell her we were selling her to the gypsies. To this day and she is 25 she is afraid of gypsies.

  24. Debbie says:

    Excellent! After nineteen years of parenting I feel ready for Call My Bluff and Mastermind, but too tired and haggard for Gladiators and The Crystal Maze. I feel I’ve past my ‘best’ for those two.


  25. Madeline says:

    Oh this is so good! I love the last one in particular, it sounds all too familiar! My daughter loves asking me questions that don’t quite make sense, and then follow up questions of ‘why?’ x #KCACOLS

  26. This is brilliant! The generation game reminds me of my sister who is being driven demented by all the peppa pig figures her 3 year old got for her birthday. There is apparently now 8 peppas that she needs to find at least 10 times a day! #passthesauce

  27. OMG I used to love The Crystal Maze when I was a dumb 19yr old sent off to a cold country village in England for a year as a nanny… must see if I can find it to watch on the net with my kids! (-8

  28. Yes, yes and yes! Life it totally a gameshow with toddlers. I feel like I play a few of these daily. The generation game, crystal maze and sorry I havent a clue are definitely up there in our house! Fab post as usual, these always make me chuckle 🙂 Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Emily

  29. Ellen says:

    Ah I love it!! So funny. I’m glad that in a year or two’s time I will be ready to face Paxo and win some game shows. I do love a game show!! #bigpinklink

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