Do you have trouble scheduling your family’s many activities? What are your older kids doing after school this fall? Maybe you started dance classes, joined a soccer team, are trying Spanish, piano, tennis, or art lessons, or giving your child a little help with extra tutoring?
Why do we as parents feel like these extra curricular actives are important?
These activities help our children grow up to be well rounded. These activities help us and our children identify their interests. And the more immediate benefit is harnessing their endless energy into productive activities.
So how do you lay the groundwork for your babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers? PLAY!
I am not talking about putting some toys out around your toddler while you are on the phone catching up with an old friend or cooking dinner. While both of these things are important, your child craves some dedicated play time with their favorite person – YOU!
I encourage you to play with your child at least once a day. Sit down with your child, without the distraction of your phone, the tv, other devices and give your whole attention to the little person who adores you.
Make a list of play activities but don’t be afraid to repeat activities over and over – young children learn through repetition.
Ask your child a lot of questions. And LISTEN to their answers (even if it is just babbling), it will make the your child feel important. Teach them the give and take of conversation, and as their imagination blossoms encourage pretend play.
Make eye contact with your child – this has been proven to lead to more confident older children.
Talk to your child how you want them to talk, this is important before your child is talking & after they turn into a little chatterbox.
Both gross and fine motor skills need practice for developing body control. So, add in climbing, dancing, jumping, skipping, and other large muscle group work with coloring (or scribbling), puzzles, stacking blocks, and other more focused activities.
Playing with your child sounds easy, but it is hard to schedule into your busy life. If you have a class to attend, you will be more accountable for your time. Come see us at Gymboree Play & Music to spend some quality play time with your child in one of our classes – Play & Learn, Music, and Art. Our memberships are monthly and always include Open Gym free play time! Our schedule is located at www.gymboreeclasses.com.