It is one of the cutest things to watch toddlers walk in their parents’ shoes – literally.
Especially watching your toddler stumble around in their daddy’s brogues or your own heels. It’s the kind of thing you make a video about and post on the internet.
However, your little ones do not put on your shoes to amuse you. Rather, they do it out of admiration. That’s because your children want to be like you. They want to dress like you, look like you, walk like you and eventually talk like you.
However, that’s the more reason you are your children’s first and most important role model because they mirror your actions. In turn, this will have a lasting effect on them, whether good or bad.
That’s why it’s important for you to spend time with your toddlers and engage them in activities that will have a positive effect as they grow older.
Thinking of what activities you should engage your toddlers in? You’re just in time!
Below are activities you and your little ones should be doing daily that will aid their progression – and they are fun!
1. Speak To Them All The Time
Babies are like parrots. They repeat what they hear as close as possible to how they heard it. Thus, it is not only important to speak to your toddlers, but it is also important to speak clearly and often.
Studies show that the number of words toddlers hear hourly is directly linked to the pace at which they absorb languages.
That being said, the communication between you and your toddler should not be a one-way street. You should listen to them even if all you hear is “gibberish”. Pretend to be interested, smile when they smile, laugh when they laugh and respond in either real language or their baby talks, or any way you feel is appropriate.
The aim is to keep your baby talking- or trying to talk. The more attention you pay to your baby, the more encouraged they will be to express themselves vocally.
2. Draw And Colour With Them
A colouring pencil is a potential weapon of mass destruction in the hands of a toddler. A white wall may get disfigured or a chair might get ripped. Even worse, the toddler might chew on the pencil or poke himself with it.
On a safer side, you should ensure that none of the above happens and the only thing that gets disfigured is a piece of paper.
Colouring is not just a fun activity. Your sessions represent your toddlers’ first attempt into handwriting and art – pursuits in which they may develop long term interest.
3. Read To And With Them
Bedtime stories, naptime stories, daytime stories- there is no wrong time to read to your toddlers. Invent a reason to read to them if you have to. It’s good for them. Plus, you can even mimic the characters’ voices – they love that!
When you read to your children, you are simultaneously stimulating their imagination, sparking their interest in literature and developing their language skills.
As much as possible, show them pictures as you read to them. That way, they can associate your words with the images they are seeing.
4. Let Them Express Themselves
Your nanny might quit, your maid may need a raise, but breaking things, and making messes are generally how babies learn and make everyone’s job harder.
Nonetheless, allow them to do it. It’s how they interact with their environment. Watching your toddlers’ interact with their environment is a great way to learn about them. You will learn their strengths, their weaknesses, as well as their artistic and even moral tendency.
From your learnings, you will be able to make decisions that will help them develop socially, educationally and physically.
5. Give Them A Little Space
Yes, you read that right. Leaving your toddlers unattended and undistracted can be beneficial to them.
Boredom can inspire creativity. Without you to entertain or assist them, they will need to find imaginative ways to occupy themselves.
If you are nervous about leaving them alone, you can watch them from a distance. Alternatively, you may remain in the room with them, but ignore them while you pursue interests of your own.
6. Enjoy Music With Them
From popular songs that will get your toddlers moving, to catchy songs that will help them memorize the alphabet, your toddlers need a daily dose of music.
An early appreciation for music and musical instruments is directly linked to children’s social, educational, creative and disciplinary development.
Perhaps, most importantly, you and your toddler will establish an everlasting bond through a shared love of music. Your fun jam sessions and silly dance-offs will remain in their memories long past their childhood.
7. Take Them Outside
The great outdoors hold great adventures and valuable lessons for naturally curious and hyper-energetic toddlers.
They’ll enjoy the freedom of being able to make as much noise as they want while running and jumping. They don’t even have to be cautious of knocking over mummy’s precious vase.
However, ensure that your toddlers get some outside time every day, whether you take them to a playground or a short walk just down the street.
Parenting is not a paid job. But no amount of money can buy the feeling you’ll get when you can point to something great your child has done and say, “I taught him that” or “She gets that from me”.