According to Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer and The Happiest Toddler on the Block: How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful, and Cooperative One- to Four-Year-Old all children should have 3 types of play every single day.
- Creative play with paint/colors/arts and crafts
- Reading or being read to
- Outdoor play
So on those days where you feel like a terrible mother, or simply have no idea what else to do with your children, just do one of these things!
I find myself always trying to plan the perfect activity, attend group classes and make sure my toddler is not getting bored, when the reality is that simpler is probably better. He’d rather go outside and stare at bugs or run his fingers through the sand than go to a scheduled class of any kind ANY day of the week. And believe me- I’ve tried all of the classes from baby massage and developmental movements to music and dance.
The last time I shelled out $36 for a drop-in art class I vowed it would be my last. I tried for 18 months to get him to take part in a class, when getting some construction paper and finger paints out at home is all he really needs. Of course, if your child likes these things, then by all means take part! But I am speaking as much to myself as to other moms who have children with the same personality type…analyze your child and discover his or her unique “bent.” Don’t feel pressured to sign up for lessons or playgroups or force your child into activities you (I) think he should enjoy, when all he really wants to do is play outside. I’ve learned my lesson.