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“I’m bored!” “There’s nothing to do!” — for parents, these are extremely familiar phrases.
Maybe you’ve tried to teach your child a new skill, only to have them quickly lose interest. In these times of social distancing, it is not very easy to keep everyone occupied. Here are some strategies for teaching your toddler in ways that keep them engaged and interested in learning.
Organize Your Environment
Kids are more likely to play with toys or engage with books and learning tools if they can see them and get to them easily. Place toys at a lower level where your child can engage with them. Create specific areas for each activity, like setting up an area for drawing or for doing puzzles that makes it easy for your child to access.
Rotate Books and Toys Every Few Weeks
Although not all of us have a ton of extra storage, the private school in Markham recommends rotating books and toys every few weeks. Kids generally play with the same toys over some time. When you bring the old toys back into the rotation, its like having new toys and books all over again.
Sometimes, kids can be overwhelmed by having too many options and can make it difficult for them to focus. Often, this indecision can look like boredom. Offer limited options, such as a choice between 3 activities. “Do you want to paint, read or play with blocks?” This way, you can help your toddler make a choice and focus on an activity they enjoy.
Image by bitsybricks from Pixabay
Work on Life Skills Instead of Focusing on Rewards
It can be tempting to use a reward system to get your child to focus on a task or new learning goal, but this can backfire. You want your child to feel good about learning something new, not to do it for the immediate reward. Use this time at home to do things together. Teach them to tidy up their toys, unpack groceries or set the table — even little people can help out.
Toddlers love to be helpful, and if you are creative and make it a game, their brains will associate these tasks with fun. “Who can clean up all the blocks first? I’m getting all the red ones, can you get the blue ones?” They’ll feel proud that they can help out and contribute to the family.
It’s Okay for Your Child to Be Bored
While the main focus of this article may be to help you avoid boredom when you’re teaching your toddler, know that sometimes it can be the best thing for your child’s developing brain. Life is full of moments that are not so exciting, and kids need to learn how to entertain themselves just like in daycare for toddlers. Boredom encourages creativity in children. They may protest at first, but in the end, they will come up with exciting new ideas of their own.
It can be challenging trying to teach your toddler in the best of times, in days of social distancing and child care closures, many parents are looking for ways to engage their kids and keep them occupied. In the end, the best thing you can offer your kids is your attention and time. Please take this opportunity to do things together, and we can all learn something new.