Monday, September 5, 2016

Surviving At Home With A Toddler

While I'm home on maternity leave, all my teacher friends have gone back to school. Back to structure and back to new things every day. I love being at home, but the teacher in me longs for that structure. Here's how I'm doing both!

1.  Set a schedule. If left up to Emma, she would play horses all day. This is great but does get old. I created a visual schedule to keep some variety in our day. I simply laminated cards and put them on the fridge with magnets. 


She loves going to check and see what comes next in our day. It also promotes independence in her. Rather than me telling her to go get dressed, she does it on her own. After checking the schedule for a few days, it became routine. 

Here's what Emma's daily schedule consists of:  

1.  Breakfast
2.  Get dressed
3.  Walk or park
4.  School
5.  Chores
6.  TV Choice
7.  Lunch
8.  Quiet time
9.  Free play
10.  Clean up
11.  Outside 
12.  TV choice
13.  Dinner

TV choice comes before both meals so that I have time to fix food while only dealing with one child. She loves watching an episode of Sophia the First or Octonauts. 

2.  Don't let go of quiet time. Emma stopped napping this summer. It was always hard for her to lay down in the middle of the day, but was something her body needed. She plays really hard during the day so she still needs this time to rest. Quiet time arose when nap time ended. It started as letting her lay on the couch and watch something but I wasn't crazy about that solution. Now it's become time in her room. She can choose to lay down, read, play with puzzles or color. Regardless, it is a time for quiet and relaxing. She needs it. This hour also gives me some time to get a few things done around the house. It's a necessity for both of us. 

3. Incorporate learning. Emma loves playing school during our day. It's an hour of time for her and I together while Ellie is napping. I'm lucky Emma really enjoys learning. Each day I try to choose a letter or skill for us to focus on and some type of counting activity. Pinterest is my best friend!  Here are a few of our activities that I remembered to catch on camera. 





5. Structured choices. Give them choices during the day, but make them all acceptable to you. Each morning Emma can choose to go on a walk or to the park. Both will get us out of the house and into the fresh air. Both are acceptable to me, but she feels like she has control. We do the same at lunch and with TV choice.

6.  Chores. Kids need to feel productive. They also need to know they're expected to contribute. Emma's chores are very simple, but they're still a job she's expected to do. She likes knowing she's helping. Before you give a chore to your child, be sure to model for them how you'd like it to be done. 



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