Creating a special time (if you are at home or have time in the evenings or weekend) with your toddler to learn about words, numbers and the wonders of the world is a wonderfully rewarding experience. You may not be able to manage this everyday but it is worth the effort to try at least 3 times a week. Where do you start?
Here are our 10 tips for “School Time” with your Toddler. We call it “Homework” in our house but you can call it anything you like:
- Go to your local library, it’s free! Find books that can be read (stories) and find some learning books, you will be surprised what is available.
- Choose a theme for the day. We had a snail and slugs day…for my dear daughter! Your child finds great excitement in exploring the world around them, take their lead.
- Local Book/Stationery stores also now stock a wide variety of work books aimed at toddlers.
- Have activity-specific days (on top of your theme for the day). For instance, today could be a words/letters day and tomorrow could be numbers/maths. Plan a specific day for crafts/creativity as these activities are messy and take longer. You really want to enjoy this and not rush your child.
- Make it fun. Remember that children learn best when at play, so make sure whatever you do is fun, or that there is something fun to look forward to – even a pretty, sparkly sticker does the trick!
- Playdough is a great item to explore creativity with and is very therapeutic. Make your own: http://familytreasures.co.za/2010/05/playdough-recipe
- Explore Nature – go for walks, visit the beach, watch animals. There is so much you can learn from just being in Nature (or even just going for a walk around the block!).
- Make sure you have a routine so that your child knows what to expect and you can plan appropriately. Try to be consistent but don’t beat yourself up if everything does not work out just as planned. If you both just want to climb under the blankets and read or sleep or if you have a sick child, do what works for you that day.
- Computer Time. Sooner or later, your child will need to learn how to use the computer. I do think, however, this time should be limited. My daughter, because of the work her mommy does, can switch on the computer, open a word document, do what she needs to do and switch off the computer (different generation!). But, her time is limited…tick tock. When mommy says, time to switch off, she has learnt to do just that. I sit with her and teach her how to use the computer and then allow her to explore by herself.
- Keep Active. Remember that your child needs to learn about their own body, keeping it healthy, doing exercise and eating the right foods. Let your child help you to prepare healthy foods. Play fun games such as Hide-and-Go-Seek and Simon Says, get those bodies moving. Ride your bicycles or go for a hike or swim.
Try to keep fun, always fun!
Tell us what you do with your child, comment below.