Our kids, just like us, get bored when they’re doing something they’re not interested in. The younger the child, the shorter the attention span, so we need to keep them entertained as much as possible.
Or not. It’s okay to be bored. Daydreaming and contemplation often yield creativity and inspiration. The challenge is, as adults, we rarely have time to get bored, to sit still and just experience the moment because there’s so much to do and tasks to get done—especially this time of year. Still, we are left with the questions: “How do I keep them busy?”…“Do we always have to be doing something?”
Advice to Avoid Boredom from Your Local Toronto Daycare Centre
You have the resources to combat boredom without a lot of effort, and you don’t need to go anywhere special or even far away from the comfort of your warm and festive home this holiday season. Simple joys and moments of discovery go hand in hand. Discovering new activities to keep your little ones busy doesn’t need to be an exorbitant investment of time or resources, but simply your attention and an open mind. Treat yourself, as a parent, and take a break to enjoy these little moments of discovery.
Try these activities to cure the boredom bug, but first: Pay attention—give your child your undivided attention. Make eye-contact at their eye level and ask questions about what you’re doing together, and listen to their answers. Show a genuine interest in what they want to discover. What is your child interested in doing today, right at this moment? Be prepared, because it will probably change again soon.
- Discover Together. Play “I Spy” but not as a guessing game against each other; instead explore with each other, and really notice the environment you are in. Look for examples of something shiny, something that grows, something with texture, something which creates a shadow, something that’s blowing in the wind, or sticking out of the snow. For older children, start with the letter “A” and go through the alphabet as you find something in your environment that starts with each letter. Discovering the everyday elements of their day can keep them busy for hours, just looking at the same things but with new eyes.
- Play Santa. Put together a box of goodies like cookies, a painted pinecone, a loaf of fresh baked bread or something special from the market, and secretly place the box of goodies on a neighbour’s doorstep. Make a handmade note or card to let them know it’s from someone who cares. Being aware of their role in the community enhances the child’s growth because they learn about the world outside of themselves. Knowing their role as a community member helps create a social awareness of others who make up our community, and this awareness deepens our sense of belonging.
- Start a Tradition. Ask your child what they like about the holidays. Is it a favourite song; a favourite sight they see in their daily travels; a favourite activity? Make a point to sing together and read regularly as you celebrate the holiday season. Go for a walk to see the lights in your neighbourhood and really take a look. Ask questions. Would the lights look the same if we stood on our heads? How many bulbs are on a porch or a house or an entire street of homes? Track your growth, season to season, by making a chart. Do you want a tall chart with numbers and measurements or maybe you’d like to make a reindeer from two handprints (for the antlers) and a footprint (for the head) to keep track of how you’re changing and growing when you do this again next year.
The basis of Reggio Emilia, the learning approach we’ve adopted at our daycare in Toronto, is to make the chosen activity child-centred, sparking their interest to inquire seriously into their world around them. Who better than YOU to explore and discover with them, seeing first-hand the wonder of exploration as it leads to their learning and curiosity of more to come.
Creativity in Our Childcare Centre in Toronto—Bloor West Village
Creativity, learning, and growth flourish when things are done for enjoyment. By taking time to pay attention, ask questions, listen, and actively engage with our child, we, too, enjoy something new. What matters most is the pleasure and enjoyment, not the perfection. Let’s forget about “keeping them busy” and let’s give ourselves a break to daydream with our kids, to turn ideas upside down and inside out, and to take risks trying something new, all the while feeling the freedom to express our wonderful ideas and thoughts, and to pose questions.
Enjoy this holiday season and relish all the moments of activity, but try to make time to step back and be silent, enjoying those quiet moments together where you look around your world with new eyes; daydream and encourage contemplation of the little things right in front of you.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Atelier Kids, your Reggio-inspired city of Toronto daycare centre.