"We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun……" These are the only words I remember from this song which are somehow linked to happy memories of my childhood and mostly about playing in the sun.
Nowadays, the quick pace of life and the daily challenges parents have to go through; I really doubt that a lot of parents can provide their children with happy joyful non electronic quality play time.
A lot of parents have chosen the easy way out by buying cool electronic gadgets which will impress and entertain their children but will not be for their child's best interest especially if it’s the only kind of play the child gets. When I ask parents; how do you entertain or play with your child? The amazing very frequent answer is; (sure we take our child out several times a week) and very rarely do parents correctly answer about how they play with their child at home. Why? Simply because they have no idea how to play or that they should play in the first place.
A working mom would hurriedly pick up her kids from nursery, turning on the T.V. for them so that she would be able to prepare dinner, feed everybody, bathe the kids and lay down too exhausted to even talk.
The stay at home mom may in a lot of families be pretty much the same as the working mom; either she spends the whole day shopping, at the gym or with friends, so she comes back home as exhausted as the working mom or she stays up all night watching T.V. and wakes up just in time for kids' arrival. So she's more or less in the same situation.
Of course there are super moms (working and stay at home) who manage to make the right choices and provide their families with useful quality time.
- You and ONLY you have the power to slow down.
- Go through your daily schedule and remove 1 or 2 less important items.
- Put yourself and your family 1st priority in your daily plan.
- Make more time for play.
- Make a happier plan; for example instead of returning in a hurry to prepare a hot meal and putting your kids in front of the T.V, why don’t you all have a quick snack of fruits, play a nice game together, then you have provided your kids with a little bit of mom which they have been missing all day, then you will calmly and more efficiently be able to attend the rest of your tasks.
- NEVER feel guilty about taking some time off (if you don't take some time off you will turn into an angry mom)
The Electronic Age (Our kids are bonding with machines)
There are a huge number of very attractively cute toys for toddlers which have little computers in them that enable interaction with sounds and lights.
I am totally against using those toys to entertaining young children as all you will be teaching your child is that pressing this button makes this sound and your child will bond with a machine instead of with a parent, teacher or friend. In addition, recent studies have indicated that most T.V. cartoons and computer games may very well lead to A.D.H.D. (Attention deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) specially with children under 4 years of age.
Too much T.V. has also been linked to speech delay and problems in social development.
Before you buy a toy, ask yourself:
1. Is it safe?
2. Is it Age-Appropriate?
3. How will it reinforce my child's skills?
Understanding the importance of play
The most important things in life are learned through play, it's like we have an inbuilt passion to learn what will help us develop further. A toddler banging a block on a table is learning cause and effect as well as breakable from unbreakable, two toddlers playing side by side learn about cooperation, trading and sharing. A three year old pinching and sorting out different kinds of pasta is unaware that he's strengthening his fine motor skills as well as practicing early Math concepts.
A four year old going up and down the jungle gym, pedaling a tricycle or even just running around is unaware that he's reinforcing his gross motor skills.
It is so brilliant that children don't know about the learning component to their play. Children play for fun and the more fun it is, the more they will do it again next time.
According to Vygotsky "play serves as a tool of the mind enabling children to master their own behavior". (Bodrova and Leong, 1996)
Our mission as parents and educators is to make it more fun for children including human interaction without over instructive teaching children that they are capable of entertaining themselves without electronic games.
Play is a child's work and a powerful way to learn about themselves and discover the world.
So let's have joy and fun and Seasons in the sun, let's make a happier plan for a happier family.
Toddler Safety Tips
- Provide constant adult supervision.
- Keep small items out of reach.
- Cover all sharp edges on tables and furniture.
- Install safety gates if you have stairs at home.
- Supervise all water play.
- Keep balloons, coins, jewelry and cleaning detergents away and locked.
- Keep all Medicine in a locked Medicine Cabinet.
- Install safety electric socket blockers.
Recommended Toddler Toys From A Shop
- All types of balls
- Animal sets
- Large blocks
- Dolls + Puppets
- Kitchen set + plastic food
- Play dough and tools
- Pull and push toys
- Sand box + Sand toys
- Stacking rings
- Toy phones
- Toddler size clean up toys
From The House
- Cardboard boxes + shoe boxes
- Cardboard tubes
- Dress up clothes
- Laundry basket
- Notepad and toddler solo marker
- Plastic lids
- Pots and pans
- Wooden clothespins
- Water bottles and squirt bottles
From previous suggestions, you'll get many ideas for interesting interactive games.
Types of play
1. Practice Play: Is simply manipulating objects for the resulting sensations or cause and effect.
2. Pretend Play: Includes a wild range of make believe games which develops the child's imagination and teaches him to transfer an object to whatever they wish
This kind of play has been linked to early literacy and children's literacy accomplishments.
Categories of play
1. Solitary Play: child plays alone with toys
2. Social Play: is any type of play involving interaction with two or more children.
3. Primitive Social play: Occurs with adults or older children.
4. On looker play: child watches other play.
5. Parallel play: child plays alongside another child with similar toys.
6. Associative play: Involves interaction between children even though they play separately
7. Cooperative play: children help one another in activities that require division of roles and shared goals.
By Dr. Mona Youssri
Child psychiatrist and CLC preschool owner