How to Decide What to Do With the Kids Today
Have you ever known (or been) a new mom who frets over what her baby eats? When I was that new mom and my little one ate only strawberry yogurt some days, I got a great piece of advice: Stop trying to balance each meal, balance the week instead. Over the course of a week she should get a wide variety of healthy foods. Sigh of relief. I love this idea so much, I apply it to kids' activities too.
Provide opportunities for a wide range of activities each week.
Some (nanny) kids are scheduled in tight. My families have always opted for a Simplicity Parenting approach. Lots of unstructured playtime. But I want to be sure that while we play the kids develop a wide range of skills.
Run through a mental checklist. Have we read? Run outside? Made art?
When setting out invitations to play for my preschool age kids, I run through a mental checklist of what we've done so far during the week and what's missing. Like this one:
- Large Motor: dancing, yoga, climbing, obstacle courses, ball games, tag
- Small Motor: drawing, cutting, stencils, blocks, buttoning, lacing, beading
- Reading: Letters, storytelling, all kinds of books
- Art: colors, painting, music, play dough, crayons, putting on plays
- Math: numbers, blocks, counting carrots on our lunch plates, shapes
- Science: Nature hunts, bugs, mud, experiments, star gazing
- Sensory: Bins of rice or beans, goey gak, shaving cream
- Imagination: dress up, pretend play - restaurant, pirates, grocery shopping
- Getting out: The park, zoo, library, neighborhood walks
- Social/Emotional: board games, feelings charades, puppet shows
Some activities on your checklist seem obvious.
We each have our favorite kid activities. Without running through a checklist the kids and I would likely dance in the kitchen all day every day. As I read this list now, I realize it's been too long since I broke out a sensory bin...
Balancing the week's activities makes it okay to spend a whole day reading.
No more pressure to do it all each day. Take a step back, look at the week as a whole and make sure the kids are getting a little of everything. Sigh of relief.
I'd love to hear from you!
What activities are missing from this checklist? Tell us in the comments! Your insights are just what other nannies and parents are hoping to hear. So thanks for adding your voice to the conversation!