Every time I post my stories on Instagram of N doing activities, I know what the DM’s are going to be like. Mothers of toddlers in my follower list, never miss out on asking “How do you make him sit still for activities?” or my toddler would never sit for it.
I might disappoint a few of you with this post if you came here to read a full proof magical solution on “get your toddler trained in three days or a week”.There is no magic believe me.
I am jotting down the things which worked for us, you can implement these with your style and things that suit your toddler and household.
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Assign a Play Area
We live in a two bedroom apartment and have no halls.We adjust with few changes when guest visits us.The reason why I am mentioning this is because a small apartment or house should not stop you from assigning a play area to your child.
In Montessori a great emphasis is given to a play area or a learning space. A space where they can explore freely and discover.
Assign a corner of the house as play area and keep few toys, displayed and accessible.This is how N’s play area looks like, but we started with a simple set up initially.
This works like magic and even with older toddlers. Once you have assigned the play area start keeping the toys on the shelves. Rest other toys should be stored out of sight.The idea is to make only few toys accessible.Rotate the toys every week or alternate days. It depends on the child if your child doesn’t show much of interest in the toys kept initially rotate them frequently and slowly you can start keeping them for longer. I started with rotating every alternate day and switched to weekly later.
This is how we started with
Start with what they love
If you know what your child love the most then straight away start with that. For e.g. if your child loves car keep few trays/ toys in the shelf which has car or car themed. Keep few other trays with different activities. Don’t force them to explore let them choose.For us it was messy and practical life activities.
Embrace the mess and play with them
As mentioned it was always the messy activities which made N sit for longer. He would not touch his trays for days together and the moment he would see slime or water he would be interested. It took me sometime to adjust with the mess which was made but I adjusted.
One thing that I have learnt is toddlers or babies are very social and they love playing in groups not alone. N would not touch his toys but the same toys at his friends place would be loved. And another thing that i noticed was he would sit still and play for hours at friends place.And hence the idea of playing together.
So I started doing all the activities along with him when he was almost one we started with this. Weekends his father would do one activity with him that he loves and those were usually messy ones. And now at 31 months he plays independently and happily.
He expects me and his father to join in the fun off course.
Have no Expectations
Please don’t get carried away when you see a toddler sitting calmly and doing his/her activities. Every child is different and comparing your child will only make you expect more from them.
Keep your expectation to nil don’t expect that just because you have done all the steps above your child should do activities nicely. I tried I failed many a times.Honestly I have clicked so many pictures and recorded so many videos when my son would be doing the activities. But the videos or pictures on days when he showed no interest are few or may be none.
Let your child be
Lastly when you set your expectation to nil level, let your child be as active as ever or non attentive or not sit still for activities..It may sound contradictory of what my post is all about. But trust me every child is different and is the best.
If you are a working mom or a mom who has loads of responsibilities. And you are not able to spend as much time on playing or doing different activities with your child. Just don’t take that guilt trip.Spend whatever time you get in a day with your child and let them be as wild as ever.