Learning time with children can sound overwhelming, but it can really be quite easy and simple. You can easily work time into your day to have some learning activities with you children. The amount of time spent on the activity does not need to be long. Here are some tips for you to work learning time into your day with success.
You don’t have to plan waaaayy ahead if planning or learning time isn’t your thing, but you will want to at least plan far enough ahead that you aren’t try to prep things with your child underfoot. A child waiting for a learning activity to start is an excited child, so she is very impatient. I don’t know about you, but that just leads to me feeling grumpy, so I prefer to prep things before I announce it is time for an activity.
There are simple ways to plan ahead. Start with a board on Pinterest to fill with ideas. Search for ideas of things you would actually want to do. As you pin things on that topic, Pinterest will show you more of it.
Then when it is time to choose what to do, go to your Pinterest board and find what you want to do.
If you don’t have a Pinterest account, simply Google and bookmark ideas.
I always like to plan for the whole week at once. That way I can purchase anything I will need in one trip and I will have everything on hand. There are plenty of activities out there that are simply printables, so you don’t always have to go shopping in order to do an activity.
Choose a Time of Day
Figure out a time of day that will work for you to do an activity each day. Do you like early in the morning? Is this something you prefer after lunch? If you have a baby, you might do an activity with your older child(ren) during baby’s nap. Choose the time of day that works best for your day to day routine.
Prep for the Activity
If you need to print anything or prep for the activity in any way that will take more than five minutes, I recommend you do it ahead of time. Prep while your child is napping, eating, or watching television.
Make It a Priority
Learning activities are easier to NOT do than they are to do. They take time and effort. For me,
whenever I avoid the learning activity, I look back regretfully on that time I could have spent. I have never regretted that time I have spent with my children doing the activity. It doesn’t have to take a long time. It can be a 10 minute thing. As your children do activities more, they will be able to do them more independently. While my children work on something, I am able to do little things here and there in the kitchen (where we do activities). The learning time does not need to take over your life, but it can be a part of your life. Have it be a part of your routine just as lunch or dinner is.
With that being said, there are days and seasons that something needs to go. Don’t feel guilty if and when learning time is that thing cut that day. Just have it be a part of your day in general.
Vary the Focus
Activities can focus on fine motor skills, reading skills, math skills, science, history, gross motor skills, sensory, scissor skills…vary your focus as much as possible to keep things well-rounded. This will provide great benefit to your child to learn things in a well-rounded way and can help keep your excitement and interest up.
With that being said, if your child is super focused on becoming proficient at using the scissors, by all means, do scissor activities every day. Children often get hyper-focused on mastering a skill, so always foster an interest you child has.
Enjoy the Fruits
The day will come when you look back on the time spent and think, “Wow! I am so glad I put that effort in!” (for me, this day has consistently been a late-winter day the year before my child enters Kindergarten. At the parent meeting, I feel relieved my child is ready for Kindergarten instead of panicked at the massive list I need to work into my child’s life in the next six months).
Learning time can be simple and still be enjoyable. Your activities do not need to be fancy nor Pinterest-worthy. Your child will be thrilled with whatever you put before him and happy to have the time learning and growing.
Valerie is the mother to four children, ages 12, 10, 8, and 5, and blogs at BabyWiseMom.com
Looking for some easy and fast learning activities? Here are some fun ones!