Our littles ones can stay soooooo busy... right underfoot... all day long. Or even worse, when they disappear for a moment and get super quiet! Oh no! Rarely does that end up a good thing (sharpie vs the wall, anyone?)
Through parenting four kiddos, I've found that the best way to keep a toddler busy without pulling your hair out is to integrate them INTO your day. Sometimes, we tend to default to building our day, our schedule, our home environment around the child. This bring everything down to their level. Sometimes, it has the unintended consequence of bringing US (and our behavior) down to their level too. EEEK!
Here are some fantastic quotes from Maria Montessori on the topic (and I love how much she echoes the sentiment of Charlotte Mason in treating children as if they are born persons- not just empty vessels to be filled and molded):
“Plainly, the environment must be a living one, directed by a higher intelligence, arranged by an adult who is prepared for his mission.”
“Respect all the reasonable forms of activity in which the child engages and try to understand them.”
“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.”
“Little children, from the moment they are weaned, are making their way toward independence.”
“The environement must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.”
I've found my greatest days that I've felt like, "YES! This was a fun, productive day" are the days that I intentionally set about making sure I gave my little ones opportunity to be productive participants in my day- cultivating important, thoughtful work and contributing to the running of our home. Not ONLY does this keep them busy (out of trouble without whining) but it builds independence, self-assurance, and confidence in them, not to mention all the great motor skills involved.
Here are 28 Ways you can allow your toddler to step into a helpful role in the home, that will keep him busy and engaged, and keep the environment more peaceful for you!
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