Friday, April 16, 2010

Preschool At Home: Sorting Animals Two By Two

The Mini-Saurus "C" and I have been spending more time trying to
do some preschool-like activities together while her older sister "E" is away at school.

I've found that I have fewer discipline issues with her when I keep her actively engaged
and actually sit down with her and "play" in a connected and present way.
When she acts up, it is usually because she doesn't have my attention. 

I'm not saying that we need to spend 24 hours a day waiting on our kids hand and foot 
with our undivided attention, nothing would ever get done around here if I did that.

But, I am realizing that because she's an easy kid I forget to really just sit down and play with her
like I used to do when I only had one child (when her big sister was this age!)

Sometimes, it can be hard as a parent to remember to stay connected 
and in the moment with our kids... our minds wander, laundry piles call,
email and facebook updates sing their time-wasting siren songs.

A simple, organized game thrown into the mix with the spontaneous
activities like walks around the neighborhood,
(playing in the sand table, playdoh, puzzles, polly pockets)
helps to break up the day and keeps my mind from wandering.

We dumped out our bin of tiny animals and found matching pairs of two.
They don't have to be identical,  just two of the same kind of animal. 
Then I put some in a bowl and gave her an empty egg carton. 

She enjoyed searching and sorting,
we called it "Mamas and Babies"
and paired up the mamas with their babies complete with tiny conversations 
in little voices for each set of critters. 

After the first round, she started pairing up two animals per opening in the egg carton
to make more families fit inside!

What kind of games do you play to stay engaged with your preschooler? 

One of my favorite blogs, the Parenting Passageway has written some great posts lately
about parenting exhaustion for parents of toddlers
with toddlers and older siblings in the 7-8 year old range!



Misty M. said...

Thanks for the tips. You are so right about everything! I also don't sit and play with my two year old very much as I did with my son who is 4. I am currently nursing a 3 month old too, so she just gets left to her own devices so often. The worst part is that she doesn't even mind.
I did notice when my son was younger though that discipline issues improved by hundredfold when I spent more time paying real attention to him during the day. I have a habit of doing other things while appeasing them in the attention category. I need to make a better effort to fix that. Of course, with homeschooling in our plans, I will soon be forcing myself to be very present.
Thanks for your thoughts, I will check out that parenting site you suggested.j

ps. Forgot to mention it, but I loved the craft you did for valentines where you sewed the cards, me and the kids did something similar and had a blast! I posted about it on my blog at the time but forgot to thnak you!

Georgine said...

Thanks for the Parenting Passageway link!

I also appreciate this post. My 3.5 year old is also a better kid when I spend some quality time with her, something we don't get enough of since her sister was born 3 months ago. I have a hard time giving each kid the attention they need (my 3 month old doesn't nap much). I find it hard to stay connected, sometimes I just want to sit and watch TV while I nurse the baby, then stay sitting there, relaxing while she sleeps.

I vow every day I will try and do better than I did the previous day. I am really having a hard time with two kids. I admire people like you who have a good balance. Sorry if I seem scattered with my comment, my brain cells aren't working together today.

teachmama said...

love this idea! we are sorting fools over here, and I have been looking for ways of using the gazillion egg cartons I have saved.

Thanks! Can't wait to check the site you mentioned, my friend. Always love stopping by!

Shawna said...

Love your blog, I am going to pass this on to the teachers I work with!!!

Carrie said...

Thank you so much for linking to me, MaryLea!
I appreciate your perspective on motherhood. You help so many mothers out there!

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