As we breathe in and out in this Tech era, young children get into the rhythm of using gadgets since the time they sit up and crawl. Many children eat only while watching their favorite nursery rhymes or cartoon shows. Limiting the time kids spend on screen may not be an easy task. But there are other modes of entertainment which could be interactive, healthy and help build a strong foundation for not only the parents and caregivers but for the inquisitive young minds as well. They could establish a few routines which help in making the day more productive and fun.
Rotate Toys and books
It’s natural for anyone to get bored of seeing the same things in the same place every day, let alone little kids. It’s nothing exciting for them to play with the same set of toys and books over and over. It builds up frustration and results in meltdowns. Rotate their toys and pay attention to the toys they play very less with and keep them away for a few days. When they have less toys to play with, the focus gets better. Importantly, they should enjoy playing with their toys. Once every 2 or 3 weeks, keep rotating the toys or swap toys with your friends’ kids if possible. That would give them a fresh new way of playing.
Include them in chores
When your child is old enough to understand simple instructions, you can help them learn to do simple tasks. For example, once you are done drinking milk, “Can you bring the cup and keep it on this table?” If the child is stubborn and not really bringing the cup where you need it, make a circle with a chalk on a table and ask them if they are big enough to keep the cup inside the circle. Kids sometimes tend to do the opposite of what they are expected to do, just to exercise more control over the situation. And there is nothing wrong in it – they are trying to become someone and in the process of becoming their own self, they need to feel more secure by gaining control over little things they are being offered at this age.
A few more examples.
1. Can you sort your shirts based on color?
2. Would you like to help mom/dad knead the batter? They would play as if they were a playdoh
3. Would you like to help the plants get a shower?
Talking in a way they get excited about, can make parenting less challenging.
Play games together
Atleast once a day, try to play a game together. It could be a simple game of “Catch” in your lawn or something more involved like a coloring project. This bonding opportunity, over the years, helps to establish a healthy two-way communication. Play “Pretend” with them, include their toys in the game. Try playing games you might have enjoyed in your own childhood. Dance together to music. Children invariably enjoy music. While they are in the groove, sing a tidy up song and clean up the toys together.
Go for a walk
Have them in the stroller or hold their hand and go for a walk in the evening to get some fresh air. Kids tend to relax when there is a change in their environment. While walking, keep the phones away and talk to them about how beautiful the trees are and how the season changes. Associating themselves with nature is an important part of growing up. Kids would ask a lot of questions to parents until they are ready for google. Use this opportunity and answer their questions diligently to the best of your knowledge. Children perceive it, when they are treated with respect.
Talk about baby days
Talking to them about how they were when they were a baby and how they pronounced their first words brings back memories for the parents and the children would tend to enjoy it. They giggle and may even ask you to repeat their baby babbles. Appreciate them for how much they have grown and how much they have learnt. The idea of talking about their baby days makes the kid feel very special and contented during that moment.
Dress them up
It’s not worth saving their expensive attire or only once used birthday dress if they just can’t have fun wearing them. Have them wear their past Halloween costumes again and take a couple of good photographs. It might not fit entirely well, but the memories would very well fit in your album. Dress them up and have them make funny faces and share a laughter together. This could be a big hit activity especially during stormy days when everyone is forced to stay indoors.
If you have any interesting ideas you’ve tried with your toddlers, do share in the comments below.