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I constantly worry that I am not doing enough for my toddler. Pinterest-y activities that a lot of moms do with their kids makes me see myself in a very bad light. Am I engaging my child enough, am I exposing her to enough stimuli, am I keeping her occupied enough! Turns out, I need not worry, for letting your kids get bored actually helps in their mental development. And I am not saying this to calm myself, but because Dr Shuchi Dalvi, child psychologist, says so. "While structured activities are important to teach skills and practice motor and neuron skills, unstructured activities or 'bored' times is when you let your child use her creativity. As adults, we get too much into technicalities, even the blanket forts that you build for your kid will be too perfect and lack the toddler touch, which makes blanket forts so magical!" she says.
Children nowadays are used to being engaged constantly -- either with screens, toys that come with a set of instruction or by parents who constantly tell them what to do and how to do. So children, naturally, have no opportunity to use their imagination and creativity, nor do they feel the need for it. This is why parents need to lug around a bag full of 'activities' and toys to keep children busy in cars and on planes. What happened to the old games like 'I spy with my little eye' or pretend play where you imagine different scenarios and play different characters. If you feel your child is too clingy and needy and you can't accomplish any work with your child around, it is mostly because you have not taught your child how to be alone with herself and her imagination. You need not monitor or correct your child all the time. Sometimes it is okay to take a step back and go about doing your work, while your child can do what they want. Pretend play is an important milestone for your child. Let her play the role of a mother as she rocks a doll to sleep, or she can pretend to be a pilot with pillows for an aeroplane!
When left to her own devices, my 2-year-old can happily play with or without her toys for hours. Some times she would just lie down and sing her rhymes. While I engage with her and we do some gross motor skill activities, I feel she flourishes so much when I simply let her be.
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