We are still in lockdown , and I personally am running out of ideas on how to entertain my wee one. She is too little to do an organised activity for too long, if at all. She wants and needs me to sit with her to even attempt it other wise it gets used for all sorts, think play dough in the carpet and missing pieces of just about everything she touches. So I am adopting a different approach , which I'm backing with her verbal communication said to me hourly "I do it " . Im letting her dictate the day. Apart from meals , I am following her lead and watching what she wants to play with and i'll join in with her if asked. Otherwise I leave her to it.
It's wonderful to watch her discover her world. The other day we were in lounge, lounging about , it was a rainy day , she decided to line all her stuffed toys up along the window sill. I jumped at this activity and encouraged her to do all of them. She arranged and rearranged them exactly to her liking for the rest of the morning. Another day , we spent 45 mins under the duvet of my bed with an assortment of toys , hiding in a cave. She instigated and narrated both theses occasions. It was her world that she created, I was invited in and went along for the ride. By allowing her time and space to be imaginative. To feel supported and safe in her play choices. I hope I'm instilling in her a feeling of assertiveness and belief to be her own mind. Although I know this will bite me in the arse later on when we are battling wills on something . 'Mummy come' is the other sentence I get a lot. A finger pull and we are running around the garden, sitting under the kitchen table or stacking something that isn't technically designated for stacking. I am her assistant. Im giving her a sense of control and making her own choices. She loves to help me with things , like laundry and cooking, getting the dishes in to and out of dishwasher. But its me asking her to help me. This way I'm opening up communication lines for her to invite me to her world, to be able to ask for help from me. To have her own ideas ( and boy does she ever and vocalise them )! And to make them happen.
We are still vey much in lockdown of our device as she is a toddler and they don't socially distance very well if, at all ! You get wee ones together of the same age and all they want to do is parallel play next to each other with no concept of personal space, ( as every mum knows who has had to share food , entertain her child while sitting on the loo , and have your child practically climb inside you when you sit on the floor). Right now I am her whole world. We do everything together and its nice to let her take the lead and for me to go with her flow.
A few years ago I had YES days with my older charges I had as a nanny. In the holidays , they didn't know which day , all I said was yes to anything they asked. It was wonderful to be able to say it. It's a nice feeling to say yes to your kids and just bond for a day. To let them determine and influence the direction of their lives. Starting young , I'm giving her the reins for what I can in her life. Like letting her choose what she wants to wear, what ever it may be ! Today was trousers and her favourite pyjama top with wellies !
What I love the most of letting her lead is living like a toddler for those moments myself . Rediscovering the world through her train of thought. How many dolly's can we cram in to a pram ? Does my lunch taste good if I dip everything in my yoghurt? Spinning around in circles makes me feel dizzy and I kinda like it. Looking at flowers while lying face down in the grass. It's us that are jaded and practical. Logic plays no part in her thought process and sometimes she comes up with a better way to see the world and more straight forward and straight talking way of doing things. I like to transport myself back to where there wasn't a care in the world , no plans except for the now. With nothing else to do right now, it's refreshing and liberating to live free with her. ( of course I still have mummy health and safety hat on at all times). But letting go and letting them guide you is a wonderful way to see our world through their eyes. And I have to say I have ( re ) learned a lot
Cognitively they are experiencing and learning about their world faster than a modern day computer. They are retaining knowledge and experiences, forming neurological path ways that will be built on for the rest of their life. Speech, non verbal communication, problem solving, learning boundaries and about self limits ie dangers are all being laid down as a foundation to their understanding of the world. Reassurance of these discoveries are most crucial , especially from us. They are trusting us to teach them, be it the right sounds to be heard. Or accompany them on adventures of discovery and exploration. To allow them to question, figure out and conclude things for themselves. Being able to do it, what ever it is by themselves, try things out physically. Maybe fail but try again. And interact with us in every way. Just as they mimic and copy us, in turn doing the same to them gives them confidence and a desire to continue.
I slide in education moments in to these moments like counting the flowers or saying the colours of the cars on the road. Seeing how many blocks we can stack and naming the animals in the toy box. With lockdown winding down , other life will filter back in and I will lose some of these moments to other developmental building blocks. Like hanging out with friends etc instead of me. Watching and learning from peers and older kids.
So I say , run when they want to run, wander the direction they want to go even it 5 mins out of your way. Hold the toys, blocks, tea set while they do what ever function they see fit for it in that moment. Be the safety net as they scale a ladder to the slide with you coming down right after them. Right now we have nothing but time to explore, I'm of the school of thought to let my kid entertain me , not the other way around. Remember , the days maybe long but the years are short.
PS sorry for getting that song stuck in your head, credits to Disneys Peter Pan x