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The moment you read the title you ought to be thinking she better give my valuable suggestions. Isn't it a million dollar question? I am into a field where I deal with kids the whole day. I have to find new set of activities everyday for a bunch of kids of different age groups. The reason children need to stay busy or occupied as it actually should be is because they actually don't play these days. In my childhood days we had to be dragged home because we felt we played less. There would be showdowns every alternate day. I was actually at loggerheads with my mum. Our games would be all set of activities which we loved. We would be drenched in sweat when we returned home.
Flashback swings to modern day... Now children go for classes. It's a big fad. There is a class for everything. Right from school admissions to grooming. We pay for our children to be busy and play. Although the roots of all this go to their infancy and toddler years. How many invested in quality time and reading books or taking our babies to the garden? How many played with them games which simulate pretend play and make believe play? Did we discover the child in us? I agree we have time constraints. Working mothers are the emotionally and mentally fatigued souls who perennially wonder what is my baby doing at home. Stay at home still manage a bit of activities although it is managing household chores. Yet both strike a fine balance with their kids.
I got inspired by how to keep your child busy when I joined some groups on Facebook. I was amazed by how moms worked so well at home with their children. They actually planned out tasks and activities. After this they even posted pictures of the same.
I was thoroughly impressed. Yet I felt that some few tips would be useful on how to let children be occupied when they are awake.
1. Pick up cues ftom your baby.
Children love to explore. Let them so. Pick up what they like to play. Play is the chief occupation of children. Let them do it. Look at how they play. If a baby is six months and sitting give her a spoon and a katori and see what she does.
They are always amazing. Reading out to babies is so important. They remain occupied. They learn.
3. Participation in household tasks.
Once children start walking independently ask them to put their toys back, put clothes in laundry basket, clean surfaces with cloth. It is serious work and they need to participate.
Take them to the garden, beach, temple, market, bank. They learn and enjoy as well. It works for them as they see new surroundings.
5. Schedule a pattern.
You introduce new foods and follow a three day rule. Similarly have a set pattern for them to develop a skill of performing a task.
6. Less toys more time
Mimimize the number of toys taken at a point. Take maximum three toys and minimise clutter in play. Spend quality time and not quantity without productivity.
7. Use natural environment activities.
Watering plants, feeding the birds, playing with kitchen utensils, climbing on surfaces, stringing beads, playing with wheat flour -simulated play doh are some of the few things to do.
8. Hunt for activities.
All mothers know how their child learns. Identify the system of learning. How does your child enjoy doing things. It works. The web has a storehouse of activities
9. Developmental stages activities v/s natural selection.
You can choose activities based on developmental age or also depending upon the natural way of task performance. Today let's go to the beach and there we do activities.
Always plan in advance what is to be done. Always ensure that the child is under supervision. Make sure that the toys are safe without any pointed edges.
11. Putting toys and books back.
Always ensure that the things taken are put back.
A small activity plan.
1. Playing with kitchen set
2. Cleaning the table
3. Animal flashcards with pointing to animal asked.
4. Lacing activity.
5. Stringing beads.
6. Stacking beakers.
7. Sorting objects.
8. 1 piece puzzle.
9. Picking up edible food items and eating with hands.
10. Drinking water from a glass with holding the glass.
These activities are spaced out during the day and done in the form of play.
Hope it helps.