Try These 5 Tactics for a Week, And Be Twice As Productive!
I always had a busy life! But I never realized how precious every spare minute will become after the 3rd baby arrived.
Don’t get me wrong — we are having an awesome life, truly truly wonderful, with giggles, rough-housing, field trips, feeling “I wish I can freeze this moment, this feeling, this setting for eternity”. But it is also very full life, with not a minute to spare.
Early Learning activities take time, focused attention and investment. But having experienced amazing benefits of Early Learning with our oldest girl, we know that we would not want to take any of that away from our two boys, — they deserve the best we can give.
And we are doing it! We do Early Learning with 3 children! Here are 5 tactics that make it work for us. Try them and I bet you will get inspired how much Early Learning you can fit in a week without stressing it.
The secret — record the ideas, keep them short and keep them available.
Sometimes one learning activity flows into another and you find yourself in the middle of something new, but it is effective, it works and your child is having fun. Write it down! No need for elaborate write up, jot down enough to remember and file it.
Reading a blog or Facebook post with awesome counting ideas? They are so simple and so obvious, probably that is the reason they will be effective! Jot them down!
Then make your Idea Box or Idea Pad always accessible and available.You will be surprised how many short periods throughout the day will turn into learning moments!
As a variation you can also make a short checklist with different easy learning activities you can do that do not require any special preparation, and then check them as you go through your day. It will not only help you to stay organized, fill those empty moments, but it will also be extremely motivational at the end of the day to see all the fun learning you packed into your day!
2. BackBone it!
All of us getting inspired from time to time. An awesome post about Biology projects, super cool geography idea or involved math activity make us want to do something similar. There is nothing bad about it, but BackBone your learning first!
Think about main activities or learning aids which will serve as back bone in every major area you are trying to focus your attention at the moment.
For us it looked something like this: Reading – Little Reader from BrillKids (who wouldn’t want fully prepared learning curriculum for 1 whole year, specifically geared to young children! And the one that can be customized would I decide to get creative!!) and lots of Native Reading; Math – Little Math for Babies and Math by EuroTalk for toddlers; History – Story of the world audio in the car; Geography – Little Reader Geography course we’ve created; Music – Little Musician and Themes to Remember.
Those were our backbones — high quality prepared materials, which will provide excellent input even if I would not do any extras on a given topic that day.
Once we would get in the swing of things I will manage to add some extras, first once in a while, then more often. I would feel good about those extras, but having back bone will also make me not feel bad on the days when we have not done anything else. It also provided routine, and children do love routine.
3. Repeat, repeat, repeat! Feeling overwhelmed? No need to try to come up with new activities or learning strategies, no need to even look for a new book. Simply repeat.
Young children thrive on repetition, they love reading the same story, doing fun activity again, and again, and again. And very much for a reason, that is their way of reinforcing and learning.
So simply repeat your yesterday’s success, put some new twist on it perhaps. Read the same book, but this time take turns reading pages or pretend to be book characters. Knowing that you are ‘allowed” to repeat will help you to relax and enable you to prepare for new days and new activities without feeling pressured and overwhelmed.
4. Be flexible and get away from traditional. Allow yourself flexibility and freedom. While there is a time and place for textbooks and worksheets, with little ones you can afford the luxury to count the pebbles on the beach and noodles on the plate and call it a school, because it is!
In addition you might be practicing skills which will be far more useful and needed then an ability to copy things on the worksheet. Logic, thinking outside of the box, mental math are just some of those skills.
If you starting doing simple math operations with your child even before she is reading or writing, she is doing mental math! In addition you can do this “nontraditional” learning anywhere and anytime — no set up needed. And because of this, you can fit so much in a day and see results.
5. Prepare your “learning anchors”. Simply take 20 minutes at the end of the day, preparing a few new books in the kids reading corner, a couple of puzzles or activities strategically placed around the house for the next day, simple art project, that you can direct children to, etc.
Something in the kitchen, something in the garden, something in the yard, some letters and numbers ( or some simple learning activity) in the bathroom, ready for tomorrows bath time or potty time. You will be amazed what a difference it will make the next day!
Last but not least – have fun! Remember for young children play equals learning. And for older ones: fun, inspiration and focused attention of a parents still plays an extremely important role in motivation, learning ability and information retention. So… have fun!