Parenting

How to encourage the toddlers imagination

As other mums, I am felling always under the microscope. And not because of other people’s judgment but for my self-criticism.

A long winter and in the last weeks a sickness bug, we have been forced to stay at home for many consecutive days. Handle with a toddler in those moments can be hard, when one is stuck at home for a long time, can be bored and quirky and all the family is in his hostage. As children have body full of energy and curious minds, they need space to explore. They need to run wild and free outside more than once a week.  I am sure I am not the only one that is eagerly awaiting spring. 

When at home, I try anyway to propose different activities. I am always guessing if I am proposing good way to spend time and play and looking on web and books to find inspirations. All the things we do with our child in the first few years, from reading, singing and playing to eating and walking, help to jump-start his brain and will create the man of tomorrow. 

My 2-year-child isn’t able to play on his own yet, he needs to be followed, entertained, proposed of things to do. He always wants me to play with him. I found myself a little bit guilty about that, because with my first son I have been the helicopter type of mum, always present and supervising him. This can be very common for a first-time-mum, but children need to feel freedom and trust themselves. This is a point that I am working on with him, I mean his indipendence. I have started to ask him to play without me for some moments during the day (putting a timer to help him to manage time) and even if it takes some time to convince him, it’s working…

Most of the time, we do things together anyway.

Reading. We read different times during the day but in particularly we love bed time stories. Reading with my eldest has become also a necessity to distract him when I am breastfeeding Leo. I have read that we should try to give them as much input as possible so it’s important to choose books of different themes and with lots of colorful images. I go often to the library and I try to find different topics, from Beatles to dinosaurs. Not only stories, but also illustrated book with cars, animals, food, countryside, different jobs.. I have asked some advises to his nursery teacher too. She has explained to me that even if toddler’ verbal activities aren’t great of course, they get better with practice when we let them to partecipate and fill little sentences. I have started when reading a book, to repeat words and phrases and ask him to complete them. This is a good way to develop their communication skills.

Towels can become turbans, a blanket with a table and a chair a house, toilet paper as a street, a scarf as a mantel of a superhero. I have discovered imaginative side of my personality too, when help him to invent scenario and characters.

Children have to play imaginary games like miniature worlds, little cars, animal and a farm or a little kitchen.

Music. When at home I try to fill his world with every kind of music. from classical to hip hop. He is too young for structured music lessons. We are very good to dance together and also sing rihmes.

Role-play or pretending to be someone else. Taking part to the life in the kitchen is absolutely my toddler favorite game. I am happy to share with him my food culture and he is very receptive and he can understand very well. I am used to explain him why I do something, which ingredients I use, why is it important to have a varied diet and to eat vegetables. He is very interested in and wants to help me.

Baking. As I love baking, this is one activity that we did very often this winter. He is concentrated and can play with that for a lot of time. His manual skills have improved a lot and I like doing something that has a result at the end. To eat!

There is nothing left to do but waiting for spring and summer and enjoy nature and outdoor activities with our kiddos.

With love

Francesca 

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