Part 2 – Conquering Toddler Chaos and Becoming a Super Nanny
Modification: Play a card game with older kids. There are some great dice games as well that do not take long but are so much fun for kids. Do they play words with friends? Challenge them. Can you teach them a hobby? Have fun with it. But find little ways to connect with them and build some fun into that relationship.
- Snuggle – This is so important. Children need affectionate, safe physical touch throughout the day. It calms them physically and emotionally, it helps them feel connected and it feeds their little brains with all the right messages. This is a lot easier with babies and toddlers and even younger children. However, if you have a child with sensory processing issues, ADD or some other factors, then make sure you find ways to provide physical reassurance within their comfort level.
Modification 1: Perhaps your sensory processing child prefers playing with some sand together and you can just sit next to each other, shoulder to shoulder. Find the little things that will work and meet your child where they are comfortable. For older children, tweens and teens, snuggling might be a thing of the past.
Modification 2: A pat on the back as you are running errands. A high five at sports practice, a hug when they score the big goal or land the elusive dance routine they have been struggling with. While the format changes as children grow up, it is still a very strong need for them to have that physical connection with the people that love and care for them.
- Play Music – Dance & Sing – What a terrific way to get the wiggles out, have fun, laugh, make memories and burn some calories. It is a huge WIN-WIN for everyone. The singing does not have to be perfect and the dancing does not have to terrific. A simple choreographed routine is a great way to teach little bodies to develop the mind-body connection. Added bonus, you can put on a show for mom and dad once you both have mastered it.
Modification: For older kids, have them show you the latest dance move craze (can anyone forget the Dab?). Put on the show tunes and belt them out. Have fun with this.
- Count or Say Letters During Daily Activities – Whether changing a diaper, walking through the neighborhood or even running errands, talk through everything. Talk about the colors in the load of laundry you are changing, Count ten cars or minivans while driving down the road. Look for all the blue cars. Look for all the flowers that start with the letter A (or any letter you choose). Incorporate learning into every are of life. It does not have to be a structured lesson, but children’s little brains are soaking up every piece of information and they are learning every second they are awake.
Modification: Come up with a creative story while driving, download an app in whatever language they are learning and learn right along with them. Make some flashcards and help with memorizing all of those dates in history, or the chemicals in the periodic tables.
It can seem a little overwhelming to think about planning out a day with kids. Sometimes we feel like we need to have a formal lesson plan, But it can actually be pretty easy. As you start to incorporate these daily activities into the moments of your day you will find that a day fills up really fast. The main priority with children is having structure, routine and yet being flexible when that gets torpedoed, looking for the little moments to add in the fun and spontaneity that kids love and incorporating teaching moments into the little mundane parts of the day.