Written by Meghan Zacok B.Ed. Creator of New Trick Kids.
A daily routine provides comfort and consistency to a child's life. Children (and adults) feel the most secure when their lives are predictable. Routines provide children with a sense of comfort and safety, create predictable transitions, and promote repetition (which is key for learning). Check out these five routines to incorporate into your child's day!
Independent play time is where your child plays in a safe area alone for a period of time determined by you. Independent play promotes problem solving, encourages imagination and creativity, and builds self-confidence.
Zip up that jacket and head outside! Sometimes our outside time is a 5 minute walk to the mailbox. Other days we spend the morning at the park. Being outside provides different stimulation (it activates more senses), gets kids moving and taking risks, and reduces stress.
Simple, unstructured play is a crucial part of child development. Between storytime, play group, and music class it's so easy to fill up our toddler's schedule with structured activities. Free play encourages kids to interact with the world around them, decision-making skills, and encourages kids to use their creativity and imagination.
Reading to toddlers sets the foundation for later independent reading. You don't need flashcards to teach your child language. Read whatever books your child asks for (even if it's the same one over and over), read slowly, read expressively, talk about the illustrations, ask open-ended questions.
Life is busy, but spending quality time with your child (just don't even think about that pile of dishes in the sink) is the MOST important thing you can do. Your child is only little for so long, so cherish this time being "present." I consciously set time out of the day just to sit on the floor and play together. Talking, watching, and staring at that adorable little face that keeps growing.