3 ways to make your staycation with your young child more fun for everyone.
when it comes to the new normal and all the sudden having your kids as coworkers, there are a few things that can make it feel a little less daunting.
1. Routine. Routine. Routine.
when you (and your child’s) day suddenly switches to a single environment it is essential to develop a strong and clear routine. without the preparation to head to school, the lunch time, the drive home at 2pm there is less for your child to focus on. this can create large gaps of empty time which in turn can manifest into confusion, testing and havoc. establishing a clear routine you can replicate almost every day will set strong expectations for your child. this will help eliminate excess testing and pushback when it comes to the trickier parts of the day (maybe nap or mealtimes). if your child can expect what is coming next they have a sense of control and participation in what is happening for them. helping them feel apart of the process and decision making encourages ownership and self esteem.
2. Pay attention to play
this is something that can feel complex but is incredibly rewarding if you can make the space and time for it. one of the easiest ways to encourage your child to maintain their play for longer periods of time is to set them up for success. giving a child a thousand options and hoping they can focus is often times not realistic. if you are able, observe your child playing for a decent amount of time (around 10-20 minutes). watch what they do, what materials they select, their thought process and how long they use each item. this gives you all the information you need to best scaffold their play. this gives you the chance to provide them with exactly what they need in addition to what you think they might reach for next. if you notice your toddler has been stacking bowls maybe you strategically place another form of stacking materials out in the open. if you notice your child has been banging things on tables or other surfaces to make noise, maybe you set up a limited music area etc etc. this thoughtful planning and attention to detail can best expand and develop your child’s play into something more meaningful and long lasting. think about it like being one step ahead :)
3. Include them (in what you can)
every part of your day contains gold nuggets of what us preschool teachers like to call curriculum. whether that be making a meal, folding the laundry or taking care of your plants. it can look different every day but each piece holds independent value. things you do to maintain your home and take care of your family are huge opportunities to showcase lessons of ownership and participation. creating a meal is a process a child of any age can participate in, whether that’s a toddler (with clean hands) mashing bananas or a preschooler measuring out the chocolate chips. these experiences hold curriculum threads in mathematics, science, sensory development and even language. taking care of a plant can be a great conversation that develops into taking care of a pet, folding laundry is a great way to introduce sorting and matching. taking a step back and viewing these otherwise difficult periods of the day as projects can having a big impact on your attitude and mood.
hopefully this post has shed a bit of light on how you can best set yourself up for success at home. most importantly, at the end of the day if nothing else just try your best to have fun and soak up the together time that normally is so rare.