In the midst of a global health crisis, one can’t help but notice that Mothers suddenly have an exclusive appointment with a very important group of people. An inquisitive lot, this group is by far the most valued recipient of our time and today we have their undivided attention. The people I am talking about, are of course our children.
Mothers are universally designated as their child’s first teacher and they now have the unique chance to spend quality time at home and make cherished memories with their children. As we all try to make the best use of this opportunity, a lot of us also have to navigate how our little ones will learn and play at home. And make no mistake, there are both equally important for the wholesome development for your child.
Being a teacher and a mother to a 6-year-old has given me great insights into how learning from home with your child can be made simple with a few easy tricks and how it can prove to be a bonding experience for the two of you. Here are a few things that have worked for me.
Similar to a work from home routine, it is important that children have a routine to their day even if they’re not going to school. Setting a timetable that mimics their school-time routine is the easiest way to do this. This could include the same sleep-wake times, study hours and play activities (recreation plays a big role in a child’s learning too).
Using space around the house creatively can also break the monotony for children. What has worked for me is keeping the boundaries fluid and letting my son learn wherever he feels comfortable in the house – be it the dining table, the balcony, the garden or the study.
There are a lot of options when it comes down to what to learn from home. They range from topics which will help in school to exploring the child’s interests. Once you have a list of topics, you have the world’s resources on the internet that can help navigate it. You can start by watching videos on the topic then move on to finding real-life examples and lastly quiz each other on the topic to test comprehension. With the availability of abundant online platforms and learning aids, this is easier than ever before.
How Playtime Helps in Early Learning
There’s more to a child’s playtime than meets the eye. Sometimes, as Mothers , we tend to think that playtime for children is limited to only a form of entertainment. Homework or chores may be given more preference and children’s playtime may not be seen as being productive.
However, being a mother myself, I have noticed that playtime actually helps in the holistic development of children. Young minds talk, cooperate with one another , assert their points, listen to us and learn, all during playtime.
Toys can go a long way in boosting your child’s creative side:
The toys that children play with are more complex than we think. There is a lot of thought put behind them when they are designed and they are designed to boost creativity and help children explore different methods of play by allowing trial and error.
In many cases, toys are designed to specifically appeal to the imagination of children by means of being open ended. A set of building blocks doesn’t make up one specific model, instead, the blocks can be used to make various different things like buildings, cars, or whatever the young eager minds of children can conjure up. Given my son’s love for aeroplanes, our set of building blocks, though intended for something else going by the instructions, often gets transformed into an airfield!
Not just toys, but puzzles too are a great way for children to learn during playtime.
Puzzles can play an important role in helping young children develop shape recognition skills and a good memory. When children see that a particular jigsaw puzzle piece fits into only certain gaps, it can help them develop spatial reasoning. And in order to solve the puzzle, they will need to remember the logical concept for the other pieces as well.
And practice makes you get better! I’ve seen children solve puzzles in a jiffy on their third or fourth try!
Strategizing through puzzles:Have you noticed that after solving a few jigsaw puzzles children often start sorting out the corner pieces first? This helps them solve the entire puzzle faster, a strategy they learn by themselves during play.
Setting goals achievable goals: Take a Rubik’s cube for example. Children may take a few tries, but they eventually figure out that you need to solve one side at a time to solve the whole cube.
Boosting your child’s self esteem: Since puzzles have a definite end when they are solved, they make children feel like they have accomplished something. I’m sure you can recollect the big, beaming smile on children’s faces when they finish solving a puzzle!
And then there’s this whole world of phy-gital (physical+digital) which combines learning and play by making digital games way more tangible.
Apart from the social, cognitive and emotional benefits, playtime is one of the best ways for children to learn more about the world around them as it engages their curiosity.
As Mothers , playing with children and being a part of their process of exploring the world is a unique way to connect with them. A favorite part of my daily routine is when I’m playing with my son; watching him engrossed in his activities, answering his barrage of questions and being a part of the imaginative stories he comes up with. Being a part of my son’s playtime and learning time helps me watch him grow and being a working parent, I’m grateful for such moments that I get with him.
So yes, as a Mother there are simple ways through which you can encourage your children to have constructive learning and playtime, while simultaneously building a beautiful bong with them. After all, a mother is her child’s first teacher.
(The views expressed in this article are by Divya Gokulnath Co- Founder – BYJU’S. Onlineandyou.com doesn’t own any responsibility for it.)