Thanks to Elizabeth Pfaff for the image.
Anyone with kids will know that an inquisitive toddler needs constant attention. You can’t take your eyes off them for a second. And if you’re a new mum or dad, you might not want to. However, sometimes you’ll just need five minutes of quiet time. Five minutes where your toddler can entertain his or herself and give you a short break. Slipping in the odd breaks throughout the day will make a world of difference to your wellbeing! A little recharge is always necessary.
Toddlers are also the perfect age to begin learning new things. They’ll learn how to walk, how to talk and how to build basic motor functions. You won’t want to miss out on any opportunity for your child to develop these skills. It’s never too early to begin teaching them. The best way to do this is to incorporate the learning process into playing. As tempting as it is to park your toddler in front of a Disney film, it isn’t the best way to help them develop. There is a balance to be found here, especially if you’re a single parent. These following ideas will help your toddler get lost in a fun activity. You can take a break and your toddler will be learning a new skill.
You’ll find a sensory table at most child-care facilities, so why not have one at home? A sensory table can have rice, beans, sand or water. Anything that a young child can pick up. Anything they can measure and sort. They spend hours measuring and transporting sand. This builds their perception of weight and mass. Picking up small items like grains of rice or beans improves the motor skills in their hands and fingers. You will need to keep an eye on them and make sure the sand doesn’t go in their mouth though!
A thousand-piece puzzle with a complex image is obviously not ideal for a toddler. But you can create your own puzzle by taking a large photo of yourself or your family and cutting into big pieces. Your toddler will slowly learn how pieces fit together and they will love seeing your face at the end of it!
Children should be exposed to music at an early age. They love to dance and wiggle to the beat! This helps them with coordination and balance. Pop songs are great because they can begin to get a grasp of language as they try to sing along.
Counting is the fundamental starting point for language. It introduces the notion of order and pattern and saying the numbers aloud covers most major sounds. You could blow bubbles and count as your child pops each one. Or you could write numbers on the stairs and count them as they climb.
Toddlers should be allowed to draw freely (with safe crayons or emulsion pens). They’ll develop the importance of grip and dexterity. It also stimulates creativity which unlocks all kinds of intelligence and thought processes.
There are many ways to entertain your toddler and make sure they’re developing at the same time. Let them engage with these activities and you can take a break. You can just watch over them rather than constantly entertaining. Let them learn for themselves and you can jump in when necessary. Your toddler will be happy and bright!