I’m not a mommy expert, I am figuring it out with the rest of them. My mommy priorities as a past educator rely greatly on showing my children to learn from the world around them through play and experience. In no particular order:
- A no limits room of their own.
I have taken a room in our house and created it into what we call the “play room”. It’s full of toys, books, and activities that encourage exploration and the primary activity of the room changes out weekly. When we may have letter focused paints and centers one week, it will be numbers focused play doh and centers the next. Most of our at home days are not so helicopter supervised play days. Make a mess, climb, build, drop, laugh, run, nothing aside from hurting another is off limits in the playroom.
- Don’t be afraid of Adventure
It’s not the end of the world to travel with your toddlers, we do it on quite the regular basis. Flying is our primary preference of travel as car rides take up too much of our precious time with far off relatives.
- A little hard work never hurt anyone
All the kids help mom and dad with the vegetable garden. We start them from seeds inside in February and by May we have a blooming budding supply of nutritious and delicious exciting veggies. Harvesting, planting, and cooking builds up the kiddos excitement for healthy eating.
- Embrace Family
Living in Alabama while B lives in Colorado, and all of our cousins live in Texas makes this quite the effort. I make an attempt to document our time with family, and make photo books labeling everyone so we never forget who our family is. We do make the effort of the (quite expensive) flight at least three times a year.
- Don’t be Afraid to Get Messy
Don’t be afraid of a project. If you can Tie-Dye with a two year old, then you can do anything. Let them paint with their fingers and dig in the mud. Let them create a chaotic mess, it’s okay to dive into life so long as we worry about the cleaning up only when the endeavor is complete.
- Bring the Kids Along on Errands and other Outings
How are they supposed to learn how to behave in public and they are never exposed to public? Yes, it is not always easy, yes there are days that there are meltdown after meltdown…but the more we get out, the less the meltdowns in public seem to occur. I will have fellow patrons approach me all the time in restaurants asking how I get my toddlers to sit so still and eat at the table…and it’s because this is something they do all the time.
- Outdoor Play
I love our huge backyard, it gives the kids lots of space to explore and play independently. Nothing like some Vitamin D to really up their attitudes, and nothing like some running and playing to really tire them out for nap time. We try to provide several different options of outdoor play from a daunting tree swing to a cuddly porch swing. We have a sand box and several slides. A water table, and the family vegetable garden. Occasionally we bust out with the sprinkler, or some incredibly messy craft that I can only manage the gumption to allow on our special outdoor crafting table.
- Pretend Play
Toddlers are as much about self discovery as your typical teen, thus their attitude. Pretend play really helps them to explore the complexities of who they may want to be. It also helps them grasp problem solving and relating to different experiences in life. We keep a large box of dress up at all times.
- Celebrate The Simple Things
There is always a moment to tell the kiddos how amazing they are, how proud you are, and how much they are loved. Celebrate even the smallest of victories with applause and love, no prizes or winners/losers necessary.
- Socialize ( For your sanity and their social graces)
Make a network of friends in a similar age range. A great way to meet up with other moms is through your local mom Facebook play groups, or community story times! 🙂