Today I will be sharing with you 10 ways to create a healthy learning environment at home, whether you are able to be home with your little one every day or you simply want to make the best of the time you do spend together. This list is compiled from taking tips learned from my own mother and turning them into reality with my own little guys. Let us take a look at the ways you can make a difference in your little one’s life:
1. Read. And then read some more. I know you have heard this before but I am telling you again. Make a way to read every single day. Shop for books at garage sales, thrift shops, swap with friends, ask for them as gifts, check them out from your local library and buy your favorites. I make a point to take 3 books along in the car whenever we go to pick big brother up from school. We also make the reading of two stories part of every night’s routine.
2. Talk. Talk about EVERYTHING you do. Talk about your tasks for the day. Talk about where you live. Talk about your name. Talk about the world. Talk and let them learn to talk until you are blue in the face. Talk to them like an adult. Ask them questions. Answer theirs.
3. Be silly. Toddlers will laugh at just about anything. Often times I will just make up a silly rhyme and repeat over and over switching out letters to make it sound sillier. Run like them, talk like them, act like them and they laugh. Repeating silly things they have done or you have done and laughing again. Laughing and being silly has been our bread and butter.
4. Be nice. When I hear myself telling my kiddo to be nice it sometimes stings. I know that the grumpy, not-enough-coffee-in-the-morning-mommy is not being nice. When you do have your moment, as I know for a fact you will, gently tell them you are sorry. ‘Sorry’ from mommy means a lot.
5. Create. Hoard up crayons, markers, paint, glue, paper, scissors and keep it where they can have constant access to it. In our home we have stacks, and I mean stacks, of creations. Craft time is always welcome at our home, and truthfully my boys are coloring, cutting and gluing literally 4-5 hours a day.
6. Go. Go to the library, go to the park, go to the gym, go to the mall, go to the grocery store, go to a play date. Go. Go. Go. Learn the art of wearing your younger baby and take off to wherever you need to go. Make plans and stick to them. Look for ways to get plugged in with other moms of toddlers. We, as moms, get bored…just think of how bored a tiny, 100-mph toddler might be?
7. Walk. This may be the same as ‘Go’ and that is quite alright. However, for our family, it means going for nature walks many evenings. Exercise as a family is so great and walking is just fine. We park far out and walk, we encourage them to walk (I’m so not the mom carrying her 3 year old), we walk around, over and through. Just walk.
8. Hug and Kiss. (Or “hug and tiss”, as my 3 year old would say.) Make it a point to squeeze that little one and show them you care. I must hug my little guys 20 times a day. It never gets old. And make it part of your routine. I always buckle the boys in their seats and kiss them on their left cheek. They expect it and love it. “mom, mom WAIT I need a hug and kiss!” is said before I go anywhere.
9. Eat. Eat together every day. I’m not saying every meal. I am saying enjoy food together every single day. Bonds have been so closely created from digging our fingers into the same bowl of popcorn, sharing that apple or talking about how yummy our veggies are. They will view food as how you show it to them. Go on a diet, and you will soon hear them taking in diet terminology. (This is why “diets” are banned from my house.) Healthy food. Healthy relationships.
10. Believe. Believe in them. Nurture them. Embrace everything they are. Tell them you believe in them. Tell them they did a good job. Tell them they are adorable. Tell them you will love them forever.
Hopefully you will find these 10 ways to teach your toddler as an encouraging way to help them grow. They adore you, now nurture that!
Robyn Rasmussen has grown to love photography and blogging through her extreme love for her two sweet little boys and husband, her passion for arts and crafts and baking up a storm. When not behind the camera for a living she is behind the camera capturing her life. Finding joy in the little things and learning to make the most of any situation. See more of Robyn’s work at www.rubyellenphotography.com.