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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Toddler Tricks - 57: Make it Last

Problem: The older your toddlers get, it seems the shorter their attention span becomes. One would presume the opposite, but either we're expecting more from them as parents, or they're louder about their boredom / less willing to go along with the grown ups plan just because. But I know I don't really want to break out the sidewalk chalk only to have to put it away 30 seconds later to get out the Play Doh only to have to put it away 30 seconds later to get out the bubbles. That's a lot of taking out and putting away for very little payoff. I'm not into it.

Solution: Incorporate other games into the main game to keep it fresh for your children. Choose imaginative games that don't have extra clean up. For instance, with the chalk, draw and have your children draw just one thing first, then thoroughly explore what you've drawn. Have your kids tell you about their image, where certain features are and what that big red blob means. Then find something that's related to that drawing to have them act out. This gets them out of the chalk world for a moment and doing something else, satisfying their gnat-like attention span. I'll look for a song that's tied in (Twinkle Twinkle for stars, etc.), or a description question (what are the colors of the rainbow? How about of the rainbow we just drew?), or an acting session (what does a crocodile do, go ahead, chomp chomp chomp. Oh! He's eating the fish, swim away fish! And they swim and chomp for a while.) When you then go back to the chalk, it's as if the activity is begun anew. You can do this at least three  or four times in a row before they catch on. I find it gets me up to a half hour to 45 minutes of play per toy.


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