30 Jan Especially for Parents: Activities to get you through the winter
Are you struggling with how to spend your time at home with your child during these months where it is harder to be outdoors for long periods of time? Here are some questions you might ask yourself as you decide how to spend indoor time with your child. Specific activities will vary, of course, by the age of your child, or children. But here are some good things to think about:
- Is my time spent with my child enhancing my relationship with him/her?
- What is my child learning about me when we are together?
- What am I learning about my child when we are at home?
- Are there skills that my child needs to work on that I can foster?
- Are there activities that will complement what my child is doing at school?
- Are there opportunities for me to provide activities at home that we can’t provide at school?
On the internet there are many articles on activities you can do inside with children at various ages. My experience is that you don’t need elaborate materials to get going. With your infant, snuggling with a book or introducing a new toy or pan and spoon from the cupboard provide the chance to totally tune in to your baby and respond to his/her cues. Time on the floor talking with and singing to your infant are precious moments for each of you.
As your child becomes a toddler, everything old becomes new again. The books you have been reading to your child now become interactive tools. Allowing your child to point to objects you name or make the sounds of animals becomes a new activity. And then block building and pushing down the creations becomes a game that can be played over and over again.
In the evenings, your preschool child will love to show you things he/she has learned at school. Have crayons and various sizes and colors readily available. Find an old cardboard box and let that be the object to decorate. If your child is ready to cut paper, provide child-sized scissors and a space that is easy to clean up after the strips of paper fall. It may not seem like a big deal, but when a child acquires a skill like using scissors effectively, it is a huge milestone. Think about ways you can involve your child in cooking with you. There may be a few shells to dig out when you allow him to practice breaking an egg, but the pride in helping you create a product to eat is worth the effort. It is also a great science lesson to see what the egg feels like and what is inside when it is cracked open. One of the keys to surviving the winters indoors is to think ahead about what you need to do and find ways for your child to participate in the tasks.
Also, be aware of activities that your child might be able to do now that she is older. Simple board games, matching games and jigsaw puzzles extend children’s ability to concentrate and provide another family activity. Think ahead and talk with your child about what you can do with him/her in the evening. Sometimes the fact that your child can anticipate special time with you makes all the difference!!