I know, I know…it’s absence. I do think there is some truth to that. However, I am talking about the child under the age of three, and it is definitely Repetition that makes their hearts grow fonder. They just love routine and consistency. We see it from week to week at Studio June and parents as well as instructors comment on it. Some children will start on their first day and go from shelf to shelf grabbing items that catch their eye, others will quietly stand to the side watching the busy group of children before them. After a few weeks of this, they are all engaged in a meaningful way; choosing a full basket from the shelf and finding a place to work, able to set the table and join the others for snack, or even joining in the singing at the end of the morning. These are all signs of their growing comfort and engagement. Each class has a predictability that brings joy to young children; the same faces, the same spaces, the same expectations.
If you create the same predictability at home, you will find your child able to concentrate and play independently for longer periods of time. Here are some tips to create an atmosphere of consistency and engagement:
- Create a predictable routine. Build a daily routine and try to follow it as often as possible, even on the weekends. Focus more on the order of activities than the time of day. For example; playtime, walk, meal, nap (rather than 9:00am, 10:30am, 11:30am, noon). Your child will learn to anticipate what comes next and feel comfort in the routine. With a routine like this playtime could be at home, at the park, or a scheduled class.
- Clear the clutter. Remove clutter from the spaces where you spend time with your child. Clutter can be distracting for them and make it difficult to concentrate.
- Go with the flow. You may see that your child starts to recognize the routine and stops playing with his toys and goes to get his shoes for your walk. Go with it. This may mean you take a longer walk, but this is a sign that your child is internalizing the routine and is taking ownership of it. This is a great step in his developing independence.
- Don’t move the furniture. This may sound strange, but try not to move your furniture around in your living spaces. Children are very sensitive to the order in their environment. This doesn’t mean you can never rearrange your furnishings, just be sensitive to how it may disrupt your child’s experience and know that he may need a few days to cope with the change.
- Don’t blow the surprise. Ok, this one is more about how we let children play than it is about routine. We often feel we need to show a child how a toy works or how fun it can be. Your child may find an activity interesting in ways you never imagined. Let him explore and discover on his own. Don’t reveal any of the toy’s secrets and act surprised if he shows you something new. Discovery is an important part of the developing imagination and drive to keep learning.
Looking to add more consistency to your summer routine?! Join us at Studio June for Summer Camp. Our camps meet daily Tuesday through Friday and are full of fun language activities, independence building experiences, and engaging puzzles and songs. Check out our new Summer Camp Schedule.