Like it or not, it’s back-to-school time. Just as you prep your kids with new clothes and school supplies, now is also a good time to think about optimizing your home and routines for learning. Today Kim is sharing two tips for doing just that.
Whether your child is school age or still a youngster, back to school time gets everyone thinking about their child’s learning. So today, I wanted to share the two things that are most important for your child’s learning, no matter the age.
The feel of an environment impacts our emotions and how we move around in that space. A messy, cluttered, and disorganized space leads to lack of attention, limited focus, and easy frustration. A thoughtful, clean, and simple space leads to fewer distractions, laser focus, and calm spirits. In fact, I think that’s why we are all drawn to MPMK, because Steph has created an online environment where we all want to settle in and spend some time.
1. Just like us, children need good spaces to work and play.
When they are young, children’s work and play are one in the same, so play spaces are the focus. To foster our children’s early development, we are much better served to carefully tend to play spaces rather than spend time and money purchasing flash cards, learning programs, or pre-academic toys.
It’s important to tend to your child’s play space much like you would a fruitful garden. Carefully planning what will go into the space from the beginning, thoughtfully arranging areas so they are most functional, regularly weeding out not so great toys, and frequently revisiting to keep things in order, will be a gift to our children far beyond measure.
As children get older they also need designated areas to read, think, listen, and create. Purposeful spaces that provide a physical structure to encourage those acts are key. For example, there’s nothing like an easel for art, a table for small finger activities, a chair for calming wiggly bodies, and a comfy corner for loungy listening. We personally love our repurposed breakfast tray for reading, drawing, and pretending and can take it anywhere.
We all know the pendulum has swung and there is encouragement from every area of child development to stop the over-scheduled, fast-paced life for kids. We understand the importance of time for free play and exploration, but often there are smaller gifts of time we forget to afford our children. Everyday I see parents, and catch myself, rushing in with a solution to a problem before a child has a chance learn from their frustration, or to ask for help.
Too often we mindlessly refill plates before a child has a chance to ask for more, or talk too much instead of really communicating. We frequently answer questions immediately without encouraging our child to think of what she may already know about that topic. I know from my popular posts on learning to wait (for parents, not kids) that we all struggle to give our kids those extra moments of time that allow space for learning. So, before you jump in, take a second to pause, and see what your child works out for herself.
For more ideas on how you can give your child the gift of great spaces and more time, check out these posts by other early childhood bloggers: