As you work at home right now and your children are running around the house you are going to be looking for some different options to keep everyone happy. Sometimes in the classroom providing less is more for the children. When there are moments of in between activities sometimes there will only be three options open and the children will ask, “What else is open?”. The answer is these three choices – dry erase boards, building or loose parts. At first the children may express frustration but shortly they are engaged.
Sometimes when you limit what the children can choose from, they spend more energy working at the activity instead of trying to explore all the activities. As you plan your day and you have a time where your children will play you may offer them 3 options and then the next hour, they have 3 different options. This can help keep your child regulated and feeling in control because there are boundaries but they are clear and they still have some choice. It can help to have an always option (for the day), like books or coloring so your child can choose that instead of the three options.
Sometimes children may need some encouragement to play with something. You pick out a great new toy and offer it to your child and they play for a minute and then are off back to their legos. You think what just happened this is a great new toy I had Amazon Primed to keep my child happy and they just left it there!
At school we sometimes use a timer (visual if possible) so the child has to play somewhere for 10 minutes and cannot leave that area. What we find is children usually start at the activity and are not focused, but then after a few minutes are usually completely engaged. Sometimes they need that little push of this is all you can do right now let’s take your energy and focus it on that. Now we have limited their mind wondering off – When is lunch? What happens if I lick this pencil? and we have concentrated their energy on one thing – what can I do with these loose parts? They know at some point it will end and they will have more options but for now they can focus here.
Hope this helps!
Nicole D. Lead Teacher, The Sharon Cooperative School