By Chaitanya and Divya
While the lockdown over the past year has been a challenge for each of us, families with young babies and children have had to deal with managing the little ones at home without any opportunity to play outside and most importantly interact with their age mates. Parents have become creative and managed to find different ways to cope with this social isolation.
Chaitanya and Divya are Montessori trained parents who have used their knowledge and skills to engage their toddler during the lockdown. Read their experience below that highlights simple methods they used during the lockdown to help their toddler pass through this phase.
Staying at home with a toddler wasn’t easy in the beginning as we wanted to engage our two and half year old in constructive activities. But, once he observed all of us at home are sharing our household work, he has come to an understanding that everybody is busy and has a work to do. And soon, he wanted to figure out what his share work is and started to help us in dusting, sweeping and mopping and we let him assist us even though his help has prolonged the duration of our work.
Toddlers work towards becoming a member of their immediate family and this was quite evident in our child as well. He shows immense interest in arranging his clothes in the organizers. He helps us to unload dishwasher to an extent. He knows where most of our utensils are located and sometimes picks the food of his own choice and the right utensil and cooks with our help.
He enjoys food and likes tasting new things. We have avoided junk food for him and kept him on a healthy diet. This has helped him develop a love for food and he eats fruits and raw vegetables with interest. He prefers munching on fruits throughout the day and is particularly fond of mangoes. As he is a fruit lover and one who is fascinated by the process of preparing juice, he executes the whole process of making orange juice right from picking oranges from the refrigerator until we clean it and put it in the juicer. He enjoys getting involved in making rotis.
He also enjoys feeding our fish and dog and has grown compassionate towards them. He loves to use chalk pieces and draw and tries to describe what he has drawn. There were nights when both of us are tired and just want to sleep but he has an endless interest in reading books and insists that we read to him; it does get tiring. As we work online and the time of our work clashes with his naptime, sometimes he tries to sleep on his own when we were working in the same room.
What is fascinating about toddlers is that if we communicate well with them and talk to them the day and our schedules, usually they understand and often support us with our schedules. We have observed this extensively with our toddler. We talk to him about our plan for the day, his activities and schedule during the day and many other things. Keeping him prepared reduces his anxiety and he usually looks forward to those activities.
All in all, it is sad that all of us got to stay at home and many are struggling but, we could make time to really observe our toddler, his urge to work and how content and happy the child is after he accomplishes the task that he decides to do. We ensure that his work is purposeful and developmentally appropriate so that he is satisfied with his work.
About the Authors
Divya and Chaithanya Yalamanchili are Montessori trained teachers at Pragnya Montessori School in Hyderabad.
Picture Credit: Patrick Fore