No matter if you are a SAHM, WAHM, WOHM or any other mom acronym, I think we all deal with self-doubt when it comes to knowing if our little one is meeting certain milestones, particularly with learning and socializing.
Am I teaching her enough? Should I buy flash cards? Does she need educational toys? Am I doing enough to prepare my toddler for when she goes to preschool?
My husband and I have opposite work schedules. My job is M-F, while husband works a couple week nights + weekends. Because of our schedules, we haven’t had to put our daughter in daycare….which most might say is AWESOME (including me!), but on the flip side, it makes me panic! Our daughter is almost 2 years old, and I’m beginning to worry if she is learning everything she should. Does she say enough words? Does she socialize well with other kids? Is she missing out on a lot of things other kids her age get to experience? These are just a few of the questions I ask myself daily.
Early in my pregnancy we knew that we wouldn’t be putting her in daycare until she was a little older. We made sure to discuss with each other what we wanted to accomplish on our own to prepare her for the time when she would be put in preschool. These are just a few ways that we have tried to acclimate our “student-in-training” so that when the transition comes, it won’t be such a shock to her.
Routine for us has always been key. It all originally started because of our schedules, but we quickly realized how important a routine was for our daughter. A typical daily routine for her is packed with activities that include story time, music time, play time and of course down time. She also knows if her book bag is getting packed it is time to go somewhere. These little signs of recognition are all part of her daily routine and the older she gets the more we will add to it.
2. Outside play.
Florida heat is no joke. We all know this. However, we try really hard to get her outside as much as possible. Outside she gets to run around, she gets to explore, she gets to climb and she gets to just be a kid. The key for us is going to the park earlier in the day or later in the afternoons. On those particularly hot days we bust out the inflatable pool and let her have water play! This has quickly become her favorite.
We try to coordinate play dates as often as we can. Because she is not in school we don’t know many kids her age but we are so incredibly grateful for the ones we do know and who arrange play dates with us. I’m always worried our daughter won’t know how to socialize with others her age but once I see her interacting with other kids my worries go away!
4. Giving Direction.
This isn’t always literal directions as in “what to do” but it’s a little more open ended. We try to talk everything out with her. When we put her clothes on we tell her which body part is being used (arm, head, legs, etc). When we want her to go to a certain room in the house, we ask her to please go there and if she starts to go the wrong direction we try to redirect her. We try to give her choices. For example: yogurt or applesauce for snack. She now knows if we ask her to get her high chair it is time to eat.
5. Independent play.
We often worry if she will socialize well with others, but we worry equally about whether she can be independent. We have an area in the house for her that allows for her to play on her own without one of us there. During these times we are within eye distance, but it gives her an opportunity to explore on her own. Independent time also comes in the form of “quiet time” in the crib with a book should she choose she doesn’t want to nap (any other stubborn toddlers out there?).
We know the day is quickly approaching to choose a preschool. We are SO lucky in Orlando to have access to amazing educational opportunities for our students-in-training. With that, I’d like to present some information on an incredible partner.
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