I went to a conference by Cari Ebert last week. (Check out her website. I love her thoughts on play!) Anyways, we talked a lot about routines and how important they are in a child’s day and especially in a family’s life. It was a little eye opening. She discussed how the majority of families don’t spend time doing one-on-one floor time with their child. I won’t ever discourage floor time play with your little one, but I get it. Families are busy. Today, I wanted to dive into the importance of routines and how to embed development in everyday activities.
I’m sure most of you look back on your day and think, ‘wow I didn’t do much today’. But in reality just getting through your day is a lot of work. Wake up routine, diaper changes or potty breaks, meal times, running errands, which usually take a lot longer than they did without little ones (ya know, in and out of car seats), and then just your normal day activities. I always see these fun ideas on Pinterest, and even tell the families I visit about how fun they would be, but honestly you probably don’t have time to build a sensory wall, or let you little one play with paint every morning. I’m guessing that all these Pinterest ideas are the ideal, and some of you do have time for all of that (Good for you!). Children benefit most by being involved in family routines and interacting with caregivers (parents, grandparents, etc.), siblings, and friends. I guess what I’m really trying to say is that you have enough on your plate as a parent and part of a family that you don’t have to feel guilty for not fitting in all your activities off of your Pinterest board. No more parent guilt, okay?! Let’s talk about common routines and how a child develops through them.. I think you’ll be surprised at how much of this you are already doing, without knowing the great impact it has on your kiddo.
Diaper change/dressing time:
- Motor play: having them kick their little legs, stretching out their body
- Self-Help: encouraging your little one to help dress themselves, If your little one can stand, always dress standing up, encourage them to put their arms through or their leg through. This really helps with independence.
- Social: Making eye contact, cooing or talking with your little one, playing back and forth games (peek a boo)
- Language: You can have your little point to body parts, or imitate actions (This also distracts them from crawling away during a diaper change.)
- Self-help: Letting your little one feed themselves. Let them use a fork, or a spoon (I know it’s messy, but they have to start somewhere…)
- Sensory Play: introduce different textures, different flavors (sweet, spicy, sour), you can even freeze food to add to their sensory play.
- Language; I can’t emphasize how important language is for meal time. We want our little ones to first and foremost be asking for their needs and food is a need. Encourage them to point to what they want, offer choices and encourage them to say what they want or sign more.
- Language: Talk! Talk! Talk to your little one! Remember my post a few weeks back on early language, and how important it is for little ones to hear lots of words? Well a ride is easy, just label everything you see. Just labeling is great.
- Cognitive: As your little one gets older, work on their memory by giving them some clues of how to get home and ask them where to go next on your way home. For example, if you turn to get to your house by a big oak tree, point it out and then ask ‘what do we do when we see the big oak tree?’ This is great especially since you are consistently going home.
These are just a few examples. I’d love to hear how you involve play and development into your little ones routine? Let’s share ideas for all of our readers!!