As you know I am a big fan of Montessori and I believe that you don’t have to dive in and go Montessori Hardcore to reap the benefits of her philosophy! By learning this one technique you will discover how to keep your kids busy and learning so that you can get some work done!
I know that one of the hardest things as a mom is to juggle getting work done around the kids, it is something we focus on in The Wonder Mom Success Club because it takes a special kind of mom to build a business that fits around her family.
This is what usually happens when mom needs to get work done…
Mom… goes to Pinterest and finds some awesome activities that look like they are age-appropriate. Spends time getting everything together. Sits the child down with said activity and settles down to get some work done whilst the child is occupied. Approximately 37 seconds later, the child has dumped everything on the floor and is now jumping off the sofa half-naked whilst singing baby shark at the top of their lungs.
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Do you see the problem here?
Quite possibly not, because it isn’t addressed in the manual that comes with the child.
What manual? – exactly!
The issue is not that the activity sucked or the child is a freak of nature for not enjoying it. It’s because the child’s developmental needs and the activity are a mismatch.
Which means that the activity might be fricken awesome and you might have the best kid in the world but if those two are not at the same phase to fit the child’s needs, it’s going to F-L-O-P
The magic happens when you can make the needs and the activity match up. I talk about it more on the FB Live below…
Here are some examples:
If your child is lining up toys, this does not mean that they are OCD! It means that they are in plain of development for a sense of order. Any activities that involve sorting, folding, tidying, cleaning, matching are good for this phase of development.
If your child is interested in small things, sticking their fingers or other items’ into small holes then things such as buttoning, posting straws into a pot, posting letters, sewing, pin-pricking, playdoh, are a good fit. I have 50 fine motor skill activities in this post if you need more ideas.
If your child is curious about smells, how things feel or sound they are probably going through a sensory phase. Playdoh, especially scented doh works well here, sensory bins, ice cooking, bubbles, pouring, scooping, shaving cream art are a good choice. Again I have 50 Easy Sensory Activity Ideas on this post.
Or keep a copy of my best selling book (humble brag) Montessori Inspired Activities at hand so that you can whip up an activity in a matter of seconds.
What if your child is going through a physical development, needs lots of exercises and big movement? This can be tricker.
One technique that I used to use was to get out of the house and wear him out as much as possible, we would walk to and from the park so that when we got home he would be tired and would be more susceptible to having some quiet time.
Alternatively, take your work with you, let the child run riot in a ball pit or play area, not always ideal and might not work depending on what your job is but if you can swing it then do it!
If your work isn’t portable there may be aspects of it that is, planning or writing copy, for example, you can do with a notebook and pen. Get flexible with your job and look at what you can do from alternative places. You probably don’t need to be at your desk the whole time.
Build exercise time into your schedule and pay attention to your child’s natural rhythms, what time of day are they the most energetic and need to let off steam?
What About Older Kids?
Most of what I have talked about so far works for pre-school aged kids, a lot of the activities in the posts can be adapted in one way or another for older kids too. The same principles apply to older kids and they *should* be able to occupy themselves better as they get older.
I’m a big fan of letting kids get bored as that is when they get creative and imaginative, there are plenty of studies out there showing how this is beneficial to the child’s development. Such as the decline in imaginative stories written by children when their TV viewing increased.
If they need help, which quite often kids do, then try out my Boredom Busters, there are plenty of open-ended activities for kids to try and explore with. These are not step-by-step activities, they are designed to give the kids a springboard to get started from, where they will end up, is all down to them.
It’s always good to have something new and interesting to whip out if they start to cry ‘I’m bored!’
It is also a good way to tie in their developmental needs and their personal interests. If your child is in a phase where language and writing are calling to them and they are also interested in horses, then encourage them to write a story or manual on horses. My son used to translate pages from his Japanese dinosaur encyclopaedia into English, for fun, unprompted by me.
Which brings us to the ultimate equation, if you can balance this you are on to a winner PLUS, yes there is more! If you get this right your child will learn more quickly and at a deeper level than if you were to make him/her study something you decide on.
Child’s developmental need + child’s current interest = Winning activity
How to “Follow The Child”
Learning how to “Follow The Child” takes some time and patience but the more you do it the easier it gets.
As your child is going about their day, ask yourself these questions:
- What is capturing his/her imagination?
- What is he/she spending a lot of time doing?
- What is he/she doing repeatedly?
- What is he/she getting out of the activity?
- Which can I provide to support what he/she needs right now?
Use the answers to those questions to help you figure out which stage your child is at so that you can find activities that will keep them busy, entertains and fulfilling their developmental needs.
If you are a mom trying to juggle kids and work and are looking for a supportive community along with tech help and masterclasses to help you succeed with your online biz, then check out The Wonder Mom Success Club
Confused About Montessori?
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I’m your friendly guide to a life of passion and productivity. I focus on supporting moms who want to turn their dreams into reality by building businesses that revolve around their families. I do this through the Wonder Mom Success Club.
I’m also the brains behind the 193 Little Adventures Club where we take your family on a virtual adventure to a new country every month. And a Montessori best-selling author.
I’m on a mission to inspire and help you, all while having a ton of fun along the way.