Sometimes you see some great activities that you think would be so fun, but you know your child(ren) wouldn’t be into it. Or you see similar aged kids learning and doing things that your child isn’t quite ready for. You start to question your approach, “Maybe I should push harder? Work harder? Spend more time learning?” These thoughts can drag you down and make it difficult to work with your child.
These past two weeks I have planned activities around a theme that Caden just wasn’t interested in. And to be honest, I didn’t find the theme all that interesting either. Once I subscribe to a certain plan or program I find it hard to change or veer off into a different direction. And this is something that I need to work at. I need to focus on what Caden needs and teach it to him in a way that is interesting for him and not for someone else.
So what do you do when it’s hard to follow your child’s lead?
- Take a break and re-evaluate.
- Just let your child play.
- Observe your child. Take note of their interests and think about the learning goals you have for them.
- Then you can combine your child’s interests and your learning goals for them into a fun activity that you both will enjoy!
So for the past few weeks, Caden and I have taken a tot school break. We’ve done some planned activities here and there, but for the most part we just played. And I am learning to let things go and to just have fun with my toddler while he is still a toddler. I’ve learned through my observations of him that if I can get his attention for a moment I can engage him in simple learning by incorporating it into what he is playing with.
For example, Caden is REALLY into cars and trucks right now. It is really all he plays with. So I am creating activities with cars to learn colors, counting (i.e. the wheels on the trucks, how many cars?) and more specific vocabulary related to cars and trucks (such as: bulldozer, digger, road, etc.). I have also learned that Caden is much more willing to listen to a book if it is somehow related to cars or trucks. He loves The Little Blue Truck and Curious George and the Dump Truck.
So we are making some headway, at our own pace, of course. And if I can just remember that each child learns in their own way and at their own pace, then I think we will be okay. And just so you know we are not alone in this struggle here are some links to read from other bloggers and their experiences in learning to follow their child’s lead.
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