Staying home is staying safe, but we also want our children to stay engaged! That doesn’t always have to mean planning fanciful activities from sunrise to sundown. There are many teachable moments we can catch in some of the most mundane activities! Here are some #stayhome #staysafe #stayengaged tips from us.
Design a daily timetable with your child! This can include daily routines, simple chores, special activities, and play time. Fixed routines help to establish normalcy and a sense of security, bringing comfort to children (and to you)! Having your child participating in the designing of their daily timetable gives them a sense of ownership, and would make them more willing to abide by it.
“I DID IT” and it is perfectly fine if putting on that shoe took 5 minutes. Encouraging your child to dress themselves is a great opportunity to introduce some new vocabulary, and practice some old useful ones. “Hold the waistband with both hands, and put your left leg in the left hole.” Your child will be an expert at identifying their right/left hands, arms, and legs in no time!
Right-brain exercise. Drawing not only helps to develop your child’s fine motor skills, but also develops their creative thinking and artistic independence. Provide them with a variety of crayons, coloured pencils, and markers, and switch up the drawing board each day. As long as you’ve established some rules for “drawing time” – eg. you can only draw on the drawing paper – go ahead and place that drawing paper on the floor, on the wall, and even under the table!
OH NO… MESSY PLAY. Messy play is important as it allows your child to explore through different tactile and sensory experiences. Here are some tips to make messy play manageable!
- A designated messy play outfit that you won’t be afraid to stain
- A designated messy play area that you can easily hose down
- Turn messy play into clean play! All you need is soap and water, and your child will be washing their toys as they play with all those bubbles.
2 tablespoons of honey, 50 grams of butter, 150 grams of cornflakes…
Baking is a wonderful parent-child bonding activity. There are plenty of child-friendly recipes online, and going through these offer great opportunities to introduce numeracy concepts such as quantity and measurement. Not to mention the sweet sweet reward of what comes out of the oven!
Baby teeth will fall out, but that doesn’t mean cavities won’t hurt! Some ways to encourage your child to brush their teeth include having them practice on a toy (or yourself!), putting on a tooth-brushing song, and letting them pick out a delicious toothpaste. Don’t forget that proper tooth-brushing requires two full minutes, and you are your child’s greatest role model!
“I don’t want this!” Letting your child choose is our tip for getting them to eat healthy and wholesome meals. If your child is adverse to carrots, try offering it to them in different shapes and styles. Choices like “round, cubed, or stick?”, or “one piece or two pieces?” gives your child a sense of control over what they eat. Of course, stick to choices that ultimately benefit them. “Carrots or chips?” is not an option!
Read with your child. We love encouraging our children to read, but do we model this desired behaviour? One great way to develop this habit in our children is to read alongside them! Have your child pick out a book, and have one of your own. Designate some time for quiet reading – anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes depending on your child’s reading interest and ability – and just read side by side with your child.
Retired U.S. Navy Admiral Seal William H. McCraven authored the book “Make Your Bed: Little Things Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World” and don’t we wish for our little ones to change the world! Working with all that soft material on the bed also helps to work on your child’s motor skills. Why not throw in a quick game of tug-of-war with the sheets to get them nice and straight while you’re at it!
Cleaning up is a great way to slip in some of those numeracy skills. Have your child put their toys away by sorting them into containers of different shapes/sizes/colour, ask them to keep all the red toys first, or play a countdown jingle! 30…29…28…27…
Dress up day is fun not only for your child, but for everyone at home! Pick a theme, and have everyone dress up accordingly on that day. Role-playing not only helps children develop cognitive flexibility and creative thinking, but also allows children to begin to understand how to empathise with others as they assume different characters.
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” – Nietzsche
Children love music! Music not only increases sensory development, improves literacy and numeracy, and builds coordination, but is also a useful tool for establishing routine and making mundane tasks fun. Your child probably already has an arsenal of songs for routines in school. Ask them to teach them to you, and then come up with new ones for home – don’t forget to add some cool moves!
Let’s stay home, stay safe, and stay engaged as we navigate these uncertain times together!