Ways to encourage learning (for toddlers)

I don't know about you, but we thrive on routine around here. We follow schedules. And we like it. If our days aren't in order, we're a chaos. We don't have an hour to hour guide, but we do things in order. One after another. That way, the kids know what they're supposed to do next. And we don't end up arguing (thankfully, not too much) about bedtime or nap time.

Our days are structured. I don't want my children's childhood to be unproductive. I'm not against screen time. I just don't want screen time for them all the time. I want balance. I like balance. I want my children to love learning. I want them to understand that learning is fun. But that screen time is also good for both them and us.

My kids are still so young, so I'm still figuring out what their interests are. I've found that the best way for my children to love learning is to give them the right opportunities to learn.

Ways to encourage learning

1. Set aside a table and chair

This can be any table and chair. We use it whenever we're doing our activities. Your child will associate it with learning. We mostly use it for Zaki to make crafts, build lego, play dough, draw, etc. It's tall enough that Hiro cannot reach it and disturb Zaki. But low enough that Zaki can sit on the stool by himself and use the table for these things.

Yes, that's an old wet wipe box turned into a crayon box. I have tons of uses for these old wet wipe boxes. They are very useful.

2. Place items/toys that will help encourage learning within their reach

We got a little bookshelf for the boys by the floor. It's within Hiro's reach. I let him play with it because it encourages him to learn to look at pictures. And maybe, hopefully, someday he'll love reading books. When I see that he's interested in one particular book, I grab the moment and read to him. It's working well at the moment. We've been reading atleast once a day. Twice on most days.

3. Play together

Playing is how they learn. I find that whenever I play with my children, I am able to find more opportunities to teach them. We start talking about colours, shapes, numbers, letters, words, and even phonics. There are a lot of ways to play with kids. And you don't even need fancy toys. You just need to be present at the moment. All attention on them. No phones or TV in the background. Those are just distractions. I know it sounds a little like you're wasting time by just sitting around, but there are a lot of benefits. A few of which are these:
  • You get quality time with your children.
  • You get to know them better, what their personality is like, what they're interested in, etc.
  • You will be able to find lots of opportunity to sneak in some "What colour is this? What sound does the car make?"

4. Individual play

Of course, you need the entire room to be childproofed. They need a safe place to explore. They need to learn to play on their own, which is beneficial for both of you. I like it because I get to do my own thing too. Also, you get to be an observer instead of a playmate.

There have been instances where Zaki grabs a book and starts "reading" to Hiro. He would turn the page and say the picture on it. It is nice to observe and see them grow, just as it is nice to be a part of their play time. There needs to be balance in both.

There you have it. A few ways to encourage learning for toddlers. It isn't much but I'm sure I'll discover more as we grow together. We, the parents, are still learning just as they are. I'm excited to see what else we'll learn together as we grow. Aren't you excited to grow with your children? I am.

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