This week is for all those mums who have those adorable, energetic Toddlers who seem to have unlimited energy.
Sometimes it’s hard to know how to cope with the Toddler who is always wanting to be on the go and struggles to sit still. In my experience, these precious children are often the ones that grow into the adults that are high achievers because of their desire to accomplish at all times. The need to be on the go exploring and seemingly getting into mischief on a regular basis is often because they need to know all there is to know about everything. They have very inquisitive explorative and impressionable minds that want new information. Sometimes it’s because they just love to be active, a lot of their learning comes from being active, not passive.
We all have different learning styles and some learn better when being active; some like to be quiet and contemplative when learning others need lots of direction and explanation. The secret is to where possible, find out how your little one processes things. Watch, listen and engage with them to learn why they need to be so active and what catches their interest. When you know this you can create activities that they enjoy and you can get involved in, cheering them on and slowly stretching their attention span. Have a variety of activities that can be produced in different areas of the backyard or inside the house.
Create little areas such as:
1. Quiet Zone: this area might have books, blocks, puzzles, etc. , just one or two things per day not all at once.
2. Craft Zone: just a few pencils, crayons and paper, some old magazines to cut or tear up with some glue and glitter and let them explore their creative side. Old milk containers, margarine containers, tissue boxes, etc. with sticky tape can soon become the most amazing things to play with for the next thirty minutes or so.
3. Stuff Zone: dolls, trucks, cars, little ponies, farm animals, Lego can all be used to extend their minds with imaginations running wild.
4. Home Zone: this can have some dress ups, some kitchen utensils and cooking magazines, etc. I think this is a favourite for boys and girls.
None of these things take long to set out if you have containers labeled with the contents. You don’t have to go to the same trouble our incredible staff at Little Miracles do to set them out in beautiful displays, you just need a corner here and there, maybe use one room for a couple of zones and another for others. Use your verandah/balcony, back yard anywhere you are comfortable to break the activities up so they can go exploring.
Show them the zones you have set out and even ask them to help you; they will get excited as you get them involved. Show them how to use the zones. Talk about each one and what they are for, teach them how to keep those things in that zone so they can keep coming back to them as they desire. When they learn how to explore in these zones, you may find they aren’t destructive with other things in the house while your back is turned.
I know you might be thinking this is going to create a mess in every corner of my house. It can but it doesn’t have to, just put two or three activities out at once, teach your little one how important it is to look after their belongings and teach them to pack up. You will have to get down and help them until they learn how to do it well. However, you will be surprised how clever they can be at picking up if you are consistent.
At Little Miracles, we are reinforcing this lesson with them for you, they all learn how to do this so they can be prepared for school and life. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money; you can take your child to garage sales and you will be surprised how you can add to what you already have or buy something completely different that will create a new interest for them. There are markets advertised on social media where you can buy toys and books that have hardly been used at very low cost and you can even sell some of yours that aren’t being used anymore.
Variety is the spice of life; you don’t have to have lots of one thing, for example, too much Lego can just confuse the issue of what to build. You need enough to be able to build something substantial and of course that will depend on age and interest, however; you can have so much it is confusing and then I can guarantee then there will be a huge mess. You need enough variety to be able to set out different interests
without putting the same things out day after day. There are also a lot of Toy Libraries around and excellent Libraries for variety in books and puzzles. At trip to the Library is a very good excursion and an excellent time to plan with your child what books they would like to explore for the next month in their zone 1.
As you and they get used to using these zones within your home, I am sure new ideas will come to you and your Toddler to create the variety needed. It could become a game for you both to come up with ideas when you are out at the beach, walking, or in the park. What can you take home with you to put in an activity zone for the next week, two weeks etc. may be it’s some shells, sand, seaweed or leaves, bark and stones. The mind runs wild with what could be created with such treasures that cost you and your Toddler nothing but imagination, how exciting it could all become and what an adventure to share with them.
I can promise you if you are lead by their interests, what makes them excited, you won’t have any trouble getting them to be involved with the whole process. That’s why we always have our learning experiences around children’s interests at Little Miracles; they are hungry to be involved then and ready to learn.
Best of all is that you get to engage with them and they are learning through their play the whole time, priceless. I hope this helps someone, it all takes planning , a little effort and imagination on your behalf however it can surprise you how it makes a big difference to your day and the day of your Toddler.
To finish, I have a clip to show you that I think some genius parent came up with for the back yard. Get your thinking caps on and see what you come up with, I am more than confident you will have a great time coming up with ideas for you and your Toddler.