For a stay-at-home mom like me, the challenge is finding ways to keep an active, curious toddler NOT bored.
Of course, I can just prop him up on pillows and turn on his favorite Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show, then rotate that with baby games on our smartphones, then I’d probably have half his waking hours covered.
But is that really what I want for my son?
Have you noticed the look on a child’s face when he’s been watching TV for too long? My husband and I call it the “zombie”. It’s that bored, sapped, “bangag” (sorry, don’t know the English translation for this) look on his face, sitting atop sagged shoulders. You could almost see his brain getting dull. Kawawa naman L
Since I stay home with Gabbie, I feel like my son could get so much more from everyday. And though I am not at all a mega-creative, SUPERMOM (I refuse to be pressured by such terms!), I thought I’d just do what felt like I COULD do.
I talked to my son.
I started early on. Since he came home with me (from the NICU—at 1 ½ months), he’s been getting an earful of stories from me day after day. From pointing out trees, birds, swimming pool in our condo clubhouse to telling him about our busy day ahead, I talked to him all the time. So did his dad.
We didn’t really do baby-talk. We pretty much talked to him like a young boy and we would ask him questions, too even if he couldn’t answer yet.
We talked to him while playing, while eating, while poring through books, and while he threw his tantrums (talking to him in a calm voice is a big help).
And now, at 22 months, I can hardly believe all the stories he tells! He started with unintelligible words, phrases (we called it Gabbie’s “Mandarin”) but he told his stories with such passion and expression that we couldn’t help but “converse” with him, even though we didn’t understand a thing.
Now, he can say words (“Mommy”, “Daddy”, “books”, “sit”, “eat”, “milk”, among countless others) and phrases (“Mommy cook”, “Dede please”, “More milk”, among countless, many others) and he knows all the letters of the alphabet and numbers one to ten.
I couldn’t believe at how well he can absorb information and remember things. And I am at awe at how confidently he can express himself (and that includes his frustration—argh!).
Now, you might ask, how and what did I do?
Honestly, apart from the alphabet toy that his Ninong (godfather) gifted him, which sings the sound of each letter, plus me reading books to him, I can’t say I manipulated him into this one mean, learning machine.
|Gabbie enjoys his books|
He’s a smart boy. And I truly believe that talking to him has helped immensely with his growing grasp of the world and learning concepts.
My growing, talkative little boy means Mommy has to step it up, too. I can’t just sit around and let his learning go to waste. So, I’ve been researching on several blogsites on toddler activities that can inspire some creative conversations. Here’s some of what I’ve done with Gabbie:
· Number hopscotch – Write numbers on colored papers and stick them on the floor. Hop on it together as you recite the number.
· Read and identify – Since attention span can’t sit through a page yet, identify a standout image from each page and “tell” that story (with feelings and gusto!)
· Color-hunting – We identify our color of the day and we go around the condo complex. He would point out everything he sees that is of the same color as our color of the day.
· Grocery list – Got this idea from www.intentionalhomeschool.com. We printed out his own grocery list and off we go to the grocery, where he picked out what was on the list and ticked them off as we went along. He enjoyed shopping and learning what each item was called, and what it looked like J
· Other helpful websites: