Spending the last few weeks at home with a toddler having to quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic has helped me learn a thing or two. It’s not about having a strict schedule to follow or scratching everything off your do list. It’s about being present in the moment. I do believe that some structure is important but I am a firm believer that children learn best through play and doing their own thing. A book I recently read and loved “The Danish Way of Parenting” best explains this concept. After all, Danes are statistically the happiest people on earth so they must know a thing or two about raising capable, confident children. You can find this amazing book on Amazon. That being said, a typical day in the life with my almost two year during these crazy times looks a little something like this:
•Wake up and cuddle, either reading books or watching cartoons.
•PLAY: colour, scribble draw on her chalkboard while mommy answers emails, journals and plans her day.
•Make Breakfast. Eat Breakfast. Clean up. My daughter loves to help with all of this.. most of the time.
•Get washed up and dressed for the day. This used to be earlier but.. quarantaine life!
•Dance party and/or playing downstairs while mommy stretches or does a bit of exercise. This past week it’s been a lot of rolling muscles because all of this extra sitting has got me feeling tight!
•PLAY: anything from building, puzzles, play dough, pretend cooking or other sensory/role play type game.
•PLAY OUTSIDE: walks, bike ride, exploring.. Valentina loves to play with rocks or in the mud. I let her get dirty if she wants!
•Make Lunch. Eat lunch. Clean up lunch.
•Naptime: similar routine to bedtime which I explain below but without the bath. This is where I get most of my work done but also where I take time for myself if needed to nap, meditate or just relax. I go day by day based on my energy being mindful that I am currently pregnant and caring for a toddler.
•PLAY: anything from building, puzzles, play dough, pretend cooking or other sensory or role play type of activity.
•Watching or listening to songs. Valentina LOVES singing and dancing and demands this several times per day.
•PLAY OUTSIDE: walks, bike ride, exploring.. weather permitted of course.
•Make Dinner. Eat Dinner. Clean up Dinner.
•Call or FaceTime family. It’s so important to stay connected right now!
•PLAY: quiet games, reading books, winding down.
•Bedtime routine: Bath/Books/Songs/Bedtime
That last part of our day (bedtime routine) has been a standard that hasn’t changed since she was a few months old. Toddlers like consistency but as you can see there’s a lot of free time to just play and let her do her thing. Valentina loves to sing all throughout the day (my mom says I was the exact same ☺️) and she’s really into numbers, the alphabet and colours right now so I put on songs that help her learn. I also incorporate learning into our play and even meals as much as possible by asking her what colour something is as we play with her toys or while on a walk, how many blueberries on her plate etc. Be involved! Keep in mind, not every child is into learning numbers and letters at this age and that’s totally normal, no need to push it on them right now.
Not every day looks like this but this is what I have been somewhat following and I hope it helps other moms through these crazy times if you’re looking for some sort of structure but aren’t too concerned about a strict schedule. I’m no expert, just a regular mom winging it like the rest of us but I truly feel that letting kids be kids and being present with them is the best way to help them learn and grow. Remember to make time for self care too mama so you can be your best!