Cluttered Environment Creates a Cluttered Mind
My daughter is 4 years old and is going to a private Montessori preschool and we recently had a parent/teacher conference. Now before I get into the conference, I want to touch base on what is Montessori.
Montessori is a hands on form of learning. It is very well recognized and really gets the children engaged in what they are learning through a series of different toys that are tailored for education-such as math and reading. A famous child going to Montessori right now is Prince George! So that’s a plus!
But you really need to learn more about it before deciding if it’s right for your child. And you also should consider that not all Montessori schools are the same, some have more play time, some have less. Some are more tailored to reading some are more for math. If you are interested in the Montessori approach it’s best to talk to the teacher and see the work other students have done; and take your toddler along with you to see how they like it.
If you want to start giving your child the montessori experience there are a ton of free DIY activities on pinterest
Trust me, don’t spend the money and DIY it! The process of making it yourself is like craft time and also saves a ton of money! And it does the same thing with the added flexibility of tailoring it to your child.
Anyways, continuing on. My daughter goes to a Montessori preschool as I stated, but it is also coupled with drilling on good old fashioned pen and paper. Because life is not all games and play time. I believe that learning should be fun but taken seriously. It’s what will set them up for the rest of their life, it should be something you help create love for! So don’t badger and push them, encourage and engage them!
So on to the parent/teacher conference! The teacher asked me if she can be blunt so right away I was nervous. I mean I knew my daughter had focus issues and always just wanted to play instead of sitting down to read with me or practice her numbers, but I was not prepared to hear this.
“She is stubborn and distracted”…ouch that hurts. But I had to shake off those feelings and stop myself from becoming defensive and get to the point of why she felt this way. When she showed me my daughters work I could see what she was talking about. My daughter has had some conflicting discipline issues (her grandparents don’t believe in time out or consequences just give her whatever she wants to stop the tantrums- sigh). I thought that might be the cause so I discussed what exactly does my daughter do in class, when and how much does she focus.
The teacher was very good at explaining my daughters day, and what is expected of her. And she is progressing but she does not like learning at all…she gravitates to just the play time and often starts to look around and loses focus, even during crafts. She simply just didn’t want to do anything that wasn’t playing with toys, not even drawing.
I knew right away, that this is the same things I’m noticing at home. Resistance to even read with me, or draw and do crafts. The teacher asked me about her environment at home to get a sense of why my daughter might be so unfocused and distracted. And as soon as she asked how many toys are available to her I knew that this was probably it. My daughter has a lot of toys, and a lot of it was distracting, non-motivational play…basically zombie play. She did have blocks and lego but she usually made castles and thats it. She also has loads of puzzles but she doesn’t want to do them. She also has dolls, drum set, and just a bunch of other toys way too young for her age. The teacher knew it right away, that maybe she’s unfocused because there is no focused play at home. Everything is everywhere and she has loads of stuff to play with.
So I went home and went through all the toys and started to pack up a lot of the stuff she didn’t play with, were too young for her age to play with and just loud distracting colours and sounds….I left her with her puzzles, her books, 1 doll set, her dress up box and her mouse family tree house, and thats it.
In 2 days I noticed a difference in her. She started to play with her puzzles, she even sat down and read with me. Like how long has it been since she did that, I can’t even remember! Her attitude also calmed down, she responded better when I told her no or time out.
I think she honestly needed a overhaul of her toys and all the things that distracted her. She practiced her numbers with me and was eager to see all the check marks and wanted to correct her work when she got an X – I saw that as a huge improvement instead of her just accepting the x mark and doing nothing about it.
So if you have a toddler who is all over the place, try to clean up your house, put away things in drawers or boxes and keep their toys limited and to things that stimulate imaginative play and not zombie play. For example a toy that you just press a button and the lights flash and a voice comes on- even if that voices is for alphabets, that’s zombie play. Get a puzzle instead, or purchase a kids boardgames that gets them excited and thinking.
Couple that with a solid routine- when is play time and when is learning time, creative time and reading time. These things should all be sectioned into different parts of the day. (Click here to Print this cute weekly schedule for preschoolers)
And when you get a doll, don’t just get a frozen doll that all they are going to do with is brush their hair. Get a set, that comes with some accessories like little pets or furniture. It doesn’t have to be pricey! If you don’t want to buy it, grab some dollar store felt material and cardboard and make your own accessories and get their minds going!
There are great tips and tricks on pinterest on sensory play, but try to look into creative play because nothing builds a mind better then thinking and problem solving.
And get rid of all those toys!!