What Kids Love: Without Knowing It
Children love to play. They love to go from one thing to another at a moment’s notice. They like to feel free and able to do what they want. Yet, children also love structure. Now, they won’t tell you that, because they don’t realize it. Structure for children give them a framework where they feel secure. They can enjoy the moment because they don’t have to worry about being surprised or caught off guard about what comes next in their child’s world.
Here are three ways to make structure your children’s friend, and yours!
Bedtime and Morning Time
When children are small, they don’t have the demands of set school schedules or multiple activities. But, getting kids to bed at about the same time each night helps their little bodies naturally gear up and gear down for the day.
A bedtime routine is reassuring too. It may seem boring to us, but doing things in the same order—bath, brush teeth, read books, pray—is comforting to young children.
Little children are little, but boy can they create a mess! In fact, you might feel like most of your day is spent trailing behind them trying to restore order to your home. Well, don’t put pressure on yourself to have a perfect house, but build in some structure when it comes to their toys and belongings.
Minds just feel freer and better able to think when there isn’t a lot of clutter around. So, have specific places where your children can keep their things.
Build into your day the lessons you want your children to learn. If you want to teach your children colors of letters, find fun ways to do it, without making a “now we are going to learn” type statement. While you’re serving lunch, say, “Oh, look at those big strawberries. What color are they?”
If you’d like your children to hear a Bible story or play outside, suggest it in a light-hearted way. Instead of saying, “Everybody outside! We’ve been watching videos for too long.” Try this: “I wonder how many different kinds of leaves we can find outside. Let’s go look!”
Children, especially strong willed kids, don’t like to feel like they’re being forced into things.
Lauren Dungy is an early childhood education specialist, a bestselling author, a devoted wife and mother of nine children.